Archive for August 18th, 2013

Annie Louise Swynnerton -Sense of Sight 1895At this last gallery talk at the West End Gallery, I was asked about what I thought my lasting legacy would be, the questioner commenting that they thought my work would continue to live on.  Although I was flattered by the thought, I quickly downplayed the idea of such a thing, saying that an artist has little, if any control, over how their work will be perceived in the future.  I said that I have seen so much incredible work over the years from long dead artists whose name or body of work has little or no recognition today.  They may have had acclaim in their time or locality but didn’t have the legs to make it through time intact.

Annie Louise Swynnerton -Joan of ArcComing home after that, it didn’t take long to make a quick search and find an artist whose work I felt was powerful and compelling but had little in the way of modern acclaim.  Her name was Annie Louise Swynnerton who was born in Manchester, England in 1844 and died in 1933.  She lived much of her adult life in Italy married to sculptor Joseph Swynnerton and  prospering as a renowned painter during the Victorian era, not a small feat for a female in that time.  Her work was collected widely ( John Singer Sargeant purchased her painting The Oreads, which is now in the Tate) and in 1922  she became the first female associate of the British Royal Academy since the 18th century.  Altogether, a large career for the time, especially  for a  feminist and suffragette.

Annie Louise Swynnerton -The LetterMaybe Annie Louise Swynnerton doesn’t belong completely in the category of the unknowns, given her presence in a number of museum collections.  But perhaps she aspired for more, maybe even deserved more with her obvious talents.  What keeps the name of one artist on the minds and lips of newer generations of viewers while some equally talented artists fade from sight?

It’s something that the artist can’t control or fully manage.  I know that the only control I have over the future is to maintain a sense of continuity and consistency in my work, giving future generations a coherent body of work to which my name might be attached.





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