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The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant Guard

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Beloved ('The Bride') 1865-6

With her recent solo show at the Belgravia Gallery, Susan had the pleasure of spending a lot of time in London over the past year. London has many charms, but perhaps Susan’s favorite experience was viewing the Pre-Raphaelite exhibit at the Tate, London. She liked it so much, that she has just revisited these amazing works at the US stop in the exhibition tour at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Coinciding with the reign of Queen Victoria (roughly 1840-1900), the Pre-Raphaelite art movement was a self-aware, fairly radical group dedicated to overturning artistic orthodoxies. As a whole, this group of artists felt that art in their time had become decadent and instead favored the bright colors and truth to nature found in art before the time of game-changing Italian painter, Raphael (pre-1480s). Boldly original in style and conception, the Pre-Raphaelites made a profound contribution on the history of modern art.

Untitled 020 58×84

As a classically trained painter, Susan had certainly been exposed to the Pre-Raphaelites, but the Tate exhibition presented them in a new light, as an avant-garde movement. She was especially moved by the vivid natural imagery that appears in Pre-Raphaelite subjects, and by the art movement’s process of intensely looking at nature, which resulted in a new, distinctively modern style.

As Susan’s own painting career evolves into an increasingly abstract style, she has developed her own novel and precise method of transcribing the natural world around her and transmuting her own deeply personal interactions with that world.

When her time in London drew to a close, Susan brought home a valuable souvenir: the inspiration of the Pre-Raphaelite’s dramatically original response to nature and the singular intensity of their vision. Susan has imbued her most recent work, like Untitled 020 and the Landscape of Resonances Series, with this same spirit of rule-breaking originality.

Missed the exhibit at the Tate or The National Gallery of Art? The Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant Guard will be on display at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow from June 10 – September 30, 2013.