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Private Collection, USA


Although not dated, this intensely coloured, witty little painting would seem close in style and feeling to Grant’s other work in and around 1919, such as, for example, Venus and Adonis 1919 (Tate Gallery). Still strongly influenced by the French Post-Impressionists that Grant had first encountered in 1910-12, through his friend Roger Fry’s exhibition on the subject, his subsequent involvement with the Omega Workshop’s programme of furniture and architectural design and work as a theatre designer both in London and Paris had, by this date, pushed his painting in a more decorative and less experimental direction. In 1916 he had written to Roger Fry that he wanted to 'make pictures like objects in some way ... to paint unrealistic, realistic works', and now, living with Vanessa Bell in the farmhouse at Charleston in Sussex, his work begins to reflect the light-hearted domestic and rural idyll Grant had begun to enjoy there, as he started painting virtually everything he could lay his hands on in the house - bed-heads and cupboards, fireplaces and log-boxes, doors and window frames - art as objects in a very literal sense. In the same year, he had also seen, and found exhilarating, Derain’s sets for Diaghilev’s London production of La Boutique Fantasque. With its framing of draped curtains, landscape backdrop and still-life props, this painting takes on a distinctly theatrical character that is further emphasised by the flat two-dimensional patterning of the picture-surface, all part of Grant’s sensual playing with those fundamentals of Modernism - colour and mark.