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Pitmen Painters: The Ashington Group 1934-1984by William Feaver
Synopses & Reviews
Featuring the paintings of the Ashington Group—a group of miners from an isolated village in Northumberland in England who took an art appreciation class in the 1930s—this revealing history chronicles how the miners came to take up brushes and chisels to learn something of how art is made. It documents their growing fame, their discovery by documentary photographers and filmmakers, and their resistance to interference from the social research organization Mass Observation. Inspired by the world around them, their subjects included clocking in at the mine, work on the coalface, the pithead baths, Saturday night at the club, domestic chores, and World War II. The pitmens endeavors produced an account of a community in painting and sculpture which is considered to be without equal or rival. Attracting wide acclaim, the collection toured Europe and China, and eventually found a home in the Woodhorn Colliery Museum in Northumbria.
The Pitmen Painters has become increasingly recognised as a classic account of the role art can play in modern life.
The Ashington Group began in the 1930s as an evening class of pitmen in a village in the North of England to learn a bit about art appreciation. The Pitmen Painters tells how appreciation of their work spread, how they were tracked down by documentary photographers and film makers and how they resisted interference.
About the Author
William Feaver is a painter, writer, curator, and founding trustee of the Ashington Group collection. He is a former art critic for the Observer and the author of Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud.
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