Artist biography

Edna GINESI b.1902

Of remote Italian descent, Edna Ginesi was born in Leeds on 15 February 1902. She studied at Leeds College of Art 1920-1 where she met the artist Raymond Coxon (1896-1997) whom she was to marry in 1926. Both Coxon and Ginesi attended the Royal College of Art in London from 1921 to 1925 where, along with Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Vivian Pitchforth, they formed what was known as 'the Leeds table'. During 1923-4 they also attended informal life drawing classes at the studio of Leon Underwood. With the help of a West Riding Travelling Scholarship in 1924, Ginesi visited Holland, Belgium, Italy and France. She stayed in Paris for several months where she drew at Colorossi's studio every day and visited museums and contemporary art galleries. She and Coxon tried to visit Paris every year after that. After Ginesi had taught for a year at Bradford School of Art, 1925-6, the Coxons settled in Hammersmith, West London where they were to live for nearly seventy years. Ginesi exhibited with the London Group from 1929, becoming a member in 1933, and had her first one-person exhibition at the Zwemmer Gallery in 1932. She was a member of the 'Twenties Group', instituted by Lucy Wertheim in 1930. Ginesi worked on a number of theatrical designs, in particular for the Camargo Ballet in 1931-32. During the 1930s she and Coxon both taught drawing part-time at Chelsea School of Art. In 1938 they bought a studio in Sussex, dividing their time between London and the country from then on. Ginesi was an ambulance driver in London during the war while Coxon worked as a war artist and taught in various institutions. Coxon and Ginesi travelled widely and frequently in Britain, Europe and, from 1947, North America. In 1956 Ginesi had a retrospective at Cartwright Hall, Bradford and has since had numerous exhibitions in Britain and abroad. Ginesi's work has been dominated by landscape and studies of nature. Her painting has always been representational, but during the 1960s her predominating style changed from an expressive figuration to a more abstracted rendering of nature.

Chris Stephens
January 1998