Edward Burra: Twentieth-century Eye
Edward Burra never followed the fashion: in the thirties, when modern art was dominated by abstraction and landscape, he painted people; in the sixties, when landscape was completely out of fashion, he started to find it interesting. His life was an unusual one: profoundly disabled, he lived with his parents, and was in constant pain. Only when he was painting could he forget his body. At the same time he was a man with a rich and full life. He was a letter-writer of genius, writing every afternoon to a wide circle of friends. His letters are camp, witty, full of the energy and delight in life which he could not express physically. Inventive, entertaining, and extraordinarily original, his writing expresses a man who combined profound personal loyalty with distaste for any kind of emotional grandstanding. This is Jane Stevenson's first biography. It will of course be welcomed by historians of modern British art, but equally readers of Stevenson's fiction will delight in her portrait of this wonderfully original man and his circle: it has, she says, been like eavesdropping on a fifty-year conversation.
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