New volume by Sir John Rothenstein
By IRIS CONLAY MODERN ENGLISH PAINTERS : Lewis to Moore, by John Rothenstein (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 35s.).
GENTLE FRIENDS : The Paintings of E. Box (Andre Deutsch, 10s. 6d.).
IR John Rothenstein is the • Vasari of our times. This is the second volume of his Modern English Painters. The first was about 17 painters, beginning with .Sickert med ending with Sir Matthew Smith, and this volume deals with 16 nore • painters, all of whom were born before the turn of the century, beginning with Wyndham Lewis and ending with Henry Moore.
Let us hope we shall soon have a third volume of those born after MO whose work is now in its full flowering, for Sir John's chronicles are easy, lively, personal, devoid judices and pre-eminently readable to the present generation, and. to a future art historian, invaluable.
ALT HOUGH the author has pur posely broken up any grouping of his painters by dealing with them chronologically by age, yet one gets a very good map of the artistic. tendencies co-existing today after reading his book. His picture of eech artist is crisp and individual, but most artists can be seen to belong to one or other of the main currents.
For instance there are the rebels -Lewis leading with Roberts, Nevinson (for a time) and Wadsworth. There are the Bloomsbury adherents under Grant. There are the abstractionists with Ben Nicholeon. But a few special painters slip through the net and belong to no group. And these, one senses, are really the people Sir John enjoys writing about most. His chapters on Stanley Spencer. David Jones, Roy de Maistre, Mark Gertler and Paul Nash are quite the best in a hook in which a strict impartiality of feeling has been imposed.
V. BOX is the pseudonym of the wife of a scientist. She took to painting late in life and does it with an impaseioned fervour and in a primitive manner which exactly suits her vision of a world poetic, removed and gentle-or at least it would be gentle were it not for a strange disquiet that stares from the eyes of her domestic animals.
Most of her scenes illustrate a Victorian life, idyllic, infinitely tidy and always rich. Others enshrine the saints, or tell Bible stories, and the terror of the staring eye is still there although the mood is contemplative.
The pictures in her little book, hardly more than a good illustrated catalogue of an exhibition, are
nicely arranged with colour prints on one side and black and white details on the other, but at 10s. Od. it could at least he better hound.