Exhibiting group founded in 1913 to organise modern art exhibitions in Britain
The London Group took over from the Camden Town group and its stated aim was ‘to advance public awareness of contemporary visual art by holding exhibitions annually’. Its first president was Harold Gilman, one of the leading Camden Town painters. As an exhibiting society the London Group was specifically in opposition to the conservatism of the Royal Academy. It was also in opposition to the New English Art Club which, once avant-garde, had become conservative.
Its strength was that it embraced the whole spectrum of modern art in Britain at the time, spanning Camden Town, Bloomsbury and vorticism. The first exhibition was held in 1914 at the Goupil Gallery in London. This and the next few exhibitions included some of the icons of modern British art of the time. Among these was David Bomberg’s In the Hold, Jacob Epstein’s Rock Drill and Mark Gertler’s anti-war painting Merry-Go-Round. The London Group flourished in the 1920s, when the Bloomsbury painter and critic Roger Fry played a prominent role, maintaining its support for the principles of modern French art.
From about 1930 it gradually lost its pre-eminence as the showcase for modern art in Britain, but the group still exists and holds exhibitions.