William Greengrass’s Windmills and Balloons: rhythm and geometry

Modern family …

This family beach scene in the muted hues of a sun-hazed day combines ordinary pleasures with avant-garde innovation.

Lift me up …

With young love and new life at play, this 1936 work is the perfect feelgood image for a country recovering after the first world war. Meanwhile, the modern world’s rhythms vibrate in the whirring sandcastle windmills and recurring geometries of the balloons, a domesticised version of the Italian futurists’ machine-age abstractions.

Art for all …

William Greengrass was a member of the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, a group committed to creating art for regular folk, sold “at a price the average man pays for his beer or his cinema tickets”, as the teacher Claude Flight put it.

Cutting edge …

Their medium was the humble linocut, where cheap linoleum flooring was used as printmaking tool. Their subject matter came from a burgeoning everyday world of tennis, teas in the park, daytrips via new public transport, horse races, jazz and nightclub dancing.

Part of Cutting Edge: Modernist British Printmaking, Dulwich Picture Gallery, SE21, to 8 September


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