Vanessa Bell Mrs St John Hutchinson 1915

Share this artwork

Artwork details

Vanessa Bell 1879–1961
Mrs St John Hutchinson
Date 1915
Medium Oil paint on board
Dimensions Support: 737 x 578 mm
frame: 800 x 642 x 55 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1973
Not on display

Display caption

This portrait shows the short-story writer Mary Hutchinson. She was the mistress of Bell’s husband Clive, a fact of which Bell was aware. This may account for the unflattering nature of the portrait. When it was exhibited, to the sitter’s consternation, Vanessa Bell wrote ‘It’s perfectly hideous...and yet quite recognisable’.

The dazzling colours are reminiscent of work by Matisse – an artist Bell revered – and the French ‘Fauve’ painters.

February 2010