Anna McNay reviews Vanessa Bell: 1879-1941 at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, on view through June 4, 2017.
McNay concludes: "[Bell's] art and her life were inextricably intertwined: as her art was her life, so her life was her art. As [curator Ian A C ] Dejardin notes, in his preface to the exhibition catalogue: 'Life was as creative a construct as any of her paintings.' Thus, while it is important to recognise and celebrate Bell’s painting in and of itself, it can only truly be understood and appreciated through the prismatic Bloomsbury lens. By inadvertently reaching this conclusion in their attempts to extract her painting from this web, the curators of this long overdue exhibition have done Bell proud."