Artwork of the Week: March 22, 2021
LAURA KNIGHT (1877-1970), MAKE-UP, C.1930, ETCHING AND DRYPOINT, 9 7/8 X 7 13/16 INCHES. BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART, PURCHASE/GIFT OF MAHONRI M. YOUNG ESTATE, 1959.
In Honor of Women’s History Month
This is believed to be a depiction of Lubov Tchernecheva, one of Russia’s most celebrated ballet dancers. Tchernecheva danced with the Ballets Russes from 1911-1929 and performed at the London Coliseum for six months. British artist, Laura Knight, attended many performances during this time and also painted a portrait of Tchernecheva in her role as Cleopatra. In this etching, Knight shows the dancer at her toilette, her dramatic earrings, dark lipstick, and the thick mascara completes the final touches of her look prior to taking the stage.
Knight was a pioneering female artist who was producing large body of paintings, watercolors, and prints during her long life. Though she is known for her images of women, circus performers, and gypsies, Knight also documented current events, including many scenes of World War II and concluding with an ambitious painting of the Nuremberg Trial in 1946. She was made a Dame in 1926 and elected to full membership in the British Royal Academy in 1936, the first woman to do so since the eighteenth century.