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Tony Grist

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He Fooled Me Too [Apr. 3rd, 2013|03:29 pm]
Tony Grist
Towards the end of the 1960s a confluence of hippie chic, good vibrations and the revival of interest in High Victorian art produced the wave that carried Graham Ovenden- a not very good artist with a thing about young girls- into celebrity, riches and cultural esteem. He invented a pre-Raphaelite knock-off called The Brotherhood of Ruralists and got the Beatles' very own Peter Blake involved.  Prepubescent maidens with limber limbs and lots of lovely Victorian hair ran wild and unencumbered through the beechwoods.  It was innocent, it was mystical- and only a nasty-minded prude could have thought otherwise.

Get outta here, man, you're oppressing me.

Ovenden's time came and went but he kept on keeping out of prison by reminding us how high-minded he was. Artists are, you know. If Renoir had told us he had no sexual feelings for the blowsy blondes he kept on painting we'd have laughed at him- but for some reason we were willing to suspend our disbelief in Ovenden's chastity. I guess the alternative was just too awful.

The Tate owns 34 Ovendens. Last time I looked a number of them were visible on its web-site. I wonder what they're going to do with them now.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: steepholm
2013-04-03 03:10 pm (UTC)
The Brotherhood of Ruralists? They produced horribly ugly covers for all the Arden Shakespeares at one time. I have several, and loathed the covers almost uniformly (I must check which, if any, were by Ovenden). I assumed - I still assume - that it was only a matter of aesthetics, but who knows?

As for whether the Tate will keep them, who knows that either? Polanski is feted, William Mayne was made a pariah. Which child-sex abuser does he more resemble?



Edited at 2013-04-03 03:10 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-03 03:19 pm (UTC)
Polanski should have spent the last 50 years in prison.

Ovenden is not much cop as an artist. I don't know why the Tate bought him so enthusiastically. Perhaps it should be looked into.

I remember those covers. The Ruralists had the whole neo-pre-Raphaelite thing pretty much sewn up. I remember watching a lyrical film about them on TV- and wanting to run away from school and join them....
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[User Picture]From: charliemc
2013-04-03 08:31 pm (UTC)
Here's what I FOUND -- saying the Tate would remove his works...

Edited at 2013-04-03 08:36 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-04-03 08:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link.
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