The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery

Helen Saunders

13 October 2022 – January 2023

13 October 2022 – January 2023
The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery will present the first monographic exhibition devoted to British abstract artist Helen Saunders (1885 – 1963) in over 25 years. It showcases a representative group of the artist’s drawings and watercolours to shed light on an artist whose contribution to the story of modern art in Britain is being newly appreciated.

One of the first British artists to pursue abstraction, Saunders was one of only two women to join the Vorticists, the radical art movement spearheaded by Wyndham Lewis that emerged in London on the eve of the First World War. Her extraordinary drawings capture both the dynamism of modern urban life and the horrors of mechanised warfare. In the years following the war she turned her back on Vorticism and pursued her own path, working in a more figurative style. Due in part to the loss of a significant portion of her oeuvre, including all of her Vorticist oil paintings, this remarkable artist fell into obscurity. Only in recent years has her work begun to be rediscovered and celebrated as an important piece of the story of British modernism.

The Courtauld’s collection of works by Saunders were gifted by her relative, the artist and writer Brigid Peppin, in 2016. This gift has transformed The Courtauld into the largest public collection of Saunders’s work in the world. At its heart is a group of six landmark works from her Vorticist period.

13 October 2022 - January 2023

The Courtauld Gallery  The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery 

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