Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Waterside with English artist Laura Johnson Knight 1877–1970

Laura Knight (1877-1970) The Beach 1908

English Impressionist painter Laura Johnson Knight (1877–1970) became famous for capturing the world of London's theatre, ballet, & circus as well as her images of the Nurenburg Trials, but I enjoy the freedom & joy of her early paintings by the sea.

Laura Knight (1877-1970) Self-portrait

She was born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire to Charles & Charlotte Johnson. Her father died not long after her birth, & Laura grew up in a family that struggled with financial problems. Her mother's marriage, wrote the daughter, was "an unhappy one;" and when her father died soon after Laura's birth, friends said, "It is for the best."

Laura Knight (1877-1970) Flying the Kite

In 1899, she sailed to France with the intention that she would eventually study art at a Parisian atelier. After a short time in French schools, Johnson returned to England. There, at the age of 13, she entered the Nottingham School of Art, one of the youngest students ever to join the school. But at the Nottingham art school, she was barred from life-drawing classes; because they were open only to men, & she was put to drawing from plaster casts.

Laura Knight (1877-1970) Girls Picking Flowers by the Sea

At school, she met a promising student, Harold Knight (1874–1961), aged 17. Johnson determined that the best method of learning was to copy Harold's technique. They became close friends; and in 1903, Harold & Laura married.

Laura Knight (1877-1970) Sea Wind and Sun

In 1907, the Knights moved to the artists' colony in Newlyn, Cornwall, alongside Lamorna Birch, Alfred Munnings, & Aleister Crowley, where she painted in an Impressionist style.

Laura Knight (1877-1970) A Dark Pool 1908-18

After World War I, the Knights moved to London, where Laura met some of the most famous ballet dancers of the day, such as Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with Lydia Lopokova & Enrico Cecchetti, and Anna Pavlova.

Laura Knight (1877-1970) Boys

In 1929, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire; and in 1936, she became the first woman elected to the Royal Academy, just as her mother predicted.

Laura Knight (1877-1970) The Cornish Coast

After World War II, she was the official war artist at the Nuremberg Trials, an emotionally draining task.

Laura Knight (1877-1970) Untrodden Sand

She continued to paint after her husband's death in 1961, producing over 250 works of art as well as 2 autobiographies, Oil Paint and Grease Paint (1936) and The Magic of a Line (1965).

Laura Knight (1877-1970) The Water Pool

Laura attributed much of her success to her mother as she remembered, "One of the greatest moments of Mother's life came when she found that I, a mere baby, was never so content as with pencil and paper; even before I could speak or walk, I drew. There was no question of my purpose in life. I remember her saying, when I was only a few years old, ‘You will be elected to the Royal Academy one day.'"

 Laura Knight (1877-1970) 

  Laura Knight (1877-1970) 

  Laura Knight (1877-1970) Two Fishers

  Laura Knight (1877-1970) 

 Laura Knight (1877-1970) 

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