Utmost Fidelity: Marianne and Adrian Stokes
30 January – 28 March 2009
Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Utmost Fidelity is the first retrospective exhibition of the Austrian-born artist Marianne Stokes and her husband, the English landscape painter Adrian Scott Stokes RA.
This exhibition is a joint collaboration between Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the independent curator Magdalen Evans, the great-great niece of Marianne and Adrian Stokes. Following Wolverhampton, the exhibition will tour the UK, visiting the Atkinson Art Gallery and Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate, before concluding the tour in Cornwall at Penlee House and the Royal Cornwall Museum an area which the couple lived in from 1886 to 1899.
Known for his landscapes, Adrian Scott Stokes (1854 – 1935) entered the Royal Academy early in his career, first exhibiting in 1876. He travelled to France in the same year where he continued to live for a decade, and where he met Marianne Preindlsberger in Pont-Aven, the artist’s colony in North West France. The pair married in Marianne’s hometown of Graz. Adrian Stokes’ early work demonstrates a fascination with atmospheric effects shown in dramatic skylines, such as those seen in Uplands and Sky (1886) and Hunters on the Moor (1885). He later moved towards a more decorative style which can be seen in works such as Islands of the Adriatic (1906), which will appear in the exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Marianne can claim success equal to that of her husband, exhibiting widely and winning medals abroad for her work. She is known to have had two paintings on display at the Chicago World Fair of 1893, and later in her career designed a tapestry for Morris & Co. This was exhibited in the Paris and Ghent World Fairs, as well as exhibiting in Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest and New Zealand. Although membership of the Royal Academy eluded her, she had numerous supporters in her day from both critics and international collectors.
Magdalen Evans, Curator of Utmost Fidelity says “Marianne and Adrian were a fascinating couple of their day; Marianne’s Austrian heritage encouraged them to visit Europe for long stretches, which clearly influenced their work. Both Marianne and Adrian captured the culture of the many countries they visited, Adrian through his landscapes and Marianne in her portraiture.
The retrospective draws examples of their work from a range of both public and private collections. Perhaps most well know is the work ‘Madonna and Child’ by Marianne Stokes which adorned the Christmas first class stamp in 2005, and comes from Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s collection. Significantly this work represents a group of works painted in tempera which combines her interest in religious and folk art.”
The work of both the Stokes’ are featured in a number of public collections which include museums in Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. They can be seen at The Tate, National Portrait Gallery, V&A and many regional collections including that of Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Leeds City Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
A book written by Magdalen Evans entitled ‘Utmost Fidelity’ will be published by Sansom & Company for release alongside the exhibition.
For more information, go to www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk
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