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Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: The Truth Behind the London Years, 1911 - 1914
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Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: The Truth Behind the London Years, 1911 - 1914 (Paperback)

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Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: The London Years, 1911-1914 is the story of a young Frenchman who, at the age of 18, exiled himself in London with a Polish woman more than twice his age. Four years later he was dead. He died on active service in his native France in June 1915. He arrived in London in January 1911 with nothing ? but between January 1912 and September 1914, when he went to war, he had created over 100 pieces of sculpture and placed himself at the centre of the London art world. That he chose to carve stone spontaneously as stand-alone artwork marked it out from the academic monuments of the Victorians, and placed him alongside Jacob Epstein, Brancusi and Modigliani as a revolutionary. In some quarters he was hailed as a genius. In January 1914, at the age of 22, he was appointed chairman of the Artists' Committee of the Allied Artists' Association, the British equivalent of the Societe des Artistes Independants in Paris and by far the largest art society in the UK. The spring of 1914 saw him in close contact with the artists of the London and Camden Town Groups and in his final months in London he played a defining role in the Vorticist movement of Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound.

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: The London Years, 1911-1914 is not a full biography, but it does place thirty-three months of the artist's life under close scrutiny. Thirty-three short months only, any one of which might bear comparison to at least a year in anyone else's life. By placing events chronologically, previously unexplored consequences emerge that challenge accepted understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Gaudier's friendships and they, in turn, allow a better understanding of the timing of his work.

Before moving to St Ives in the early 1990s, David Wilkinson spent 30 years as a design and planning consultant in Berkshire. He has written extensively on late Victorian and Edwardian art and literature and has contributed to a number of books on St Ives art. His recent titles include The Alfred Wallis Factor: Conflict in Post-War St Ives Art (2017).

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