Dame Laura Knight

Theatre Performance by Dame Laura Knight

We have a selection of Dame Laura Knight original paintings and drawings for sale .

Dame Laura Knight, DBE RA RWS was an English artist who worked in oils, watercolours, etching, engraving and drypoint. Knight was a painter in the figurative, realist tradition who embraced English Impressionism. In her long career Knight was among the most successful and popular painters in Britain. In 1929 she was created a Dame, and in 1936 became the first woman elected to the Royal Academy since its foundation in 1768. Her large retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1965 was another first for a woman.[1] Although Knight was known for painting amidst the world of the theatre and ballet in London, and for being a war artist during the Second World War, she was also greatly interested in, and inspired by, marginalised communities and individuals, including Gypsies and circus performers. Her success in the male-dominated British art establishment paved the way for greater status and recognition for women artists.[2]

Nuremberg 1946[edit]

The Nuremberg Trial, 1946 (1946) (Art. IWM ART LD 5798).

In the aftermath of war Dame Laura Knight proposed to the War Artists’ Advisory Committee the Nuremberg war crimes trials as a subject. The Committee agreed, and Knight went to Germany in January 1946 and spent three months observing the main trial from inside the courtroom. The result was the large oil painting, The Nuremberg Trial. This painting departs from the realism of her wartime paintings, in that, whilst realistically depicting the Nazi war criminals sitting in the dock, the rear and side walls of the courtroom are missing, to reveal a ruined city, partially in flames.[3]

Knight explained this choice of composition in a letter to the War Artists’ Advisory Committee:[28]

In that ruined city death and destruction are ever present. They had to come into the picture; without them, it would not be the Nuremberg as it now is during the trial, when the death of millions and utter devastation are the sole topics of conversation wherever one goes – whatever one is doing

After the War Knight returned to her previous themes of the ballet, the circus and Gypsies, and continued to divide her time between London and Malvern. In 1961 Harold Knight died at Colwall; the couple had been married fifty-eight years. Knight’s second autobiography, The Magic of a Line was published in 1965, to coincide with a major retrospective of her work at the Royal Academy. The exhibition, the first such for a woman at the Academy, contained over 250 works, and was followed in 1968 and 1969 by further retrospective exhibitions at the Upper Grosvenor Galleries.[2] Laura Knight died on 7 July 1970, aged 92, three days before a large exhibition of her work was due to open at the Nottingham Castle Art Gallery and Museum.

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Art for Sale by Dame Laura Knight

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