One of our department’s significant responsibilities is modern donated collections. Our blog has chiefly focused on such collections in European languages, but this post looks at one largely in English – the collection of Professor Sir Alan Bowness, former Director of the Tate. Recent arrivals in the Bowness collection include items from the library of Dame Barbara Hepworth. These came to us with the aid of Sophie Bowness, the art historian and maternal granddaughter of Dame Barbara.
Last month, the CamCREES Revolution lecture series audience enjoyed a beautifully illustrated talk on Soviet porcelain. Petr Aven spoke about the development of porcelain work in the Soviet Union, with examples from his own superlative collection. This blog post looks at the collection’s staggering 3-volume catalogue, generously presented by Mr Aven to the University Library after his talk. The subject of porcelain as a medium for Soviet propaganda is fascinating, and the catalogue is an exquisite and important addition to the Library on the topic.
Among recent arrivals from Russia is a lovely book called Gruzinskii avangard (The Georgian avant-garde; S950.a.201.5351), produced to accompany an exhibition held at the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in Moscow. This Russian-language catalogue is a valuable addition to our collections, giving insight into 20th-century art from a country not exhaustively represented in the Library.
The book contains articles about the Georgian avant-garde followed by 140 or so pages of beautiful reproductions and then a full catalogue listing of the 200+ items used in the exhibition (accompanied by thumbprint reproductions). An English summary can be found at the end of the book. As the pictures above hopefully show, the volume is punctuated by smaller pages in addition to its main pagination. These provide further illustrative content.
A newly arrived book contains selections of the work of a little-known French engraver named Louis-Joseph Soulas (1905-1954): Soulas by Christiane Noireau (C201.b.8053).
He was born in Orléans and died in Paris. The book provides an excellent overview of the impressive range of his subjects. Ranging from a series depicting the ruins of Orléans (1942-1947) to a very human series of prisoners of war (1942), his work also encompasses bucolic scenes of country life, along with some dark and foreboding engravings dating from the war years.
The Orléans municipal archives provide a good biography and overview of his professional career.
Soulas is not terribly well-known: this is the first book in the University Library about him (indeed, we needed to add his name to the list maintained by the Library of Congress for the benefit of libraries worldwide), while a number of his works are available to view online (not least at his ‘official’ website, maintained by André and Marine Soulas), and the BNF lists only two catalogues of exhibitions of his (one from 2009, and another from 1958). Most of the 85 works listed at the BNF are prints of his in their collections, including one ‘printed on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter’. The publisher’s summary states that this is the first book written on this artist.