Vanessa Bell

Vanessa Bell

1879 - 1961

Vanessa Bell (née Stephen) The eldest daughter of the literary historian and critic, Leslie Stephen, and his wife, Julia. In 1904, following her widowed father's death, she moved to Bloomsbury with her sister Virginia (later Woolf) and brothers, Thoby and Adrian. Their Thursday evening 'At Homes' marked the beginning of the Bloomsbury Group of artists and writers. In 1907 she married the art critic Clive Bell. This, and her association with Roger Fry led her to embrace a more modern style of painting. She exhibited with the New English Art Club in 1909. Bell formed a lasting relationship with Duncan Grant, her co-director of the Omega Workshop between 1913 and 1919. She was a pivotal player in the new artistic styles emerging at the beginning of the twentieth century, particularly in her radical use of abstraction, colour and form.

Text © National Portrait Gallery, London