Marlow Moss

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Marlowe Moss is, perhaps, the most underestimated modern British artist. Most (myself included, at first) would probably struggle to correctly identify her gender, much less her oeuvre. She was largely ignored in herlifetime, when the likes of Nicholson and Hepworth were lauded, and is forgotten in the tawdry age of Hirst and Emin.

My interest derives from my devotion to the works of Mondrian:

1890 Born in Richmond, Surrey
1928 First exhibited in Paris
1930-40 Member of the following groups
Les Surindépendants, Abstraction Création, Group 1940, Anglo American
1937 Participated in an exhibition at Kunsthalle, Basle
1938 Participated in an exhibition at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1940 Returned to England
Entire output of her work destroyed by enemy action in France
Studied architecture, which led to constructive sculpture based on geometrical principles
1947 Member of the group Réalités Nouvelles, Paris.
1953 First private show at the Hanover Gallery, London
1955 Participated in an exhibition at Galerie Creuze, Paris, Cinquante Ans de Peinture Abstraite
195? Second private show at the Hanover Gallery, London
1958 Died in Penzance, Cornwall

Here are some images from the exhibition catalogue.

2 wit, zwart, rood en grijs, 1932
olie/doek 54x44.5 cm
Welsh calls it Composition in White, Black, Red and Grey.
4 wit, zwart en grijs, 1934
olie/doek 54x54 cm
11 wit, 1940
relief in hout 48x48 cm
19 wit en zwart, 1949
olie/doek 53x53 cm
23 wit, zwart en blauw, 1950
olie/doek 46x46 cm
33 wit, zwart en rood, 53
olie/doek 76x61 cm
43 wit, zwart, gell en blauw, 1957
olie/doek 76x76 cm
54 houten model voor constructie in aluminium, 1956

[Below are the last entries from the original 2002 page.]

I think the catalogue tries to list every known piece by Moss (46 paintings and 13 constructions). They are not all pictured therein.

Thanks to Mr Nijhoff. More details when available.

(Dec 2002) I notice that Mondrian scholar, Prof. Yve-Alain Bois is dismissive of MM's influence on PM,

There is a myth, circulated in part by Vantongerloo's correspondence with Gorin, to the effect that Mondrian borrowed the double line from a young English painter, Marlow Moss, who saw herself as a neo-plasticist. A few months before Mondrian adopted this new element in his art, she did in fact paint (an may have exhibited) double-line pictures; but one need only glance at Moss' earlier "double-line" pictures to realize that she makes very different use of this element: her couples lines are so unequal in thickness that they can be read neither as forming a single linear entity, nor as belonging to the same plane. See, for example, the two "double-line" compositions by Moss, dated 1931, and reproduced in the first issue of Abstraction-Création, dated 1932 (p. 26). It is only in the second issue of this journal (dated 1933) that one can see a "double-line" by Moss that has something in common with those of Mondrian (p. 29); the same issue carries a reproduction of Mondrian's first "double-line" canvas (p. 31). In other words, Mondrian does not first criticize, then adopt, Moss' invention, as Vantongerloo suggests: he is at first a skeptic, then understands his lack of interest in Moss' version, then demonstrates how, and for what destructive end, the double line could be used in neo-plastic art.
Yve-Alain Bois in note 156 to an essay, The Iconoclast, in Piet Mondrian 1872-1944, Bullfinch Press, p. 371

Ms Moss should not feel too hurt or isolated by this treatment, Prof. Bois is dismissive of numerous people and publications in this essay. Nevertheless, I am still looking forward to getting a copy of his Painting as Model for Christmas. [I never did get the book.]

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original page October 2002, rewritten January 2012