Marlow Moss: About
by Stephen Storm
This is what I wrote on the SnapDragon site in 2002, rewritten in 2012 and now brought up to date.
Marlow Moss is, perhaps, the most underestimated modern British artist. Most (myself included, at first) would probably struggle to correctly identify her gender, much less her oeuvre. She was largely ignored in herlifetime, when the likes of Nicholson and Hepworth were lauded, and is forgotten in the tawdry age of Hirst and Emin (or, perhaps, that should read forgotten until Lucy Howarth got to work).
My interest derives from my study of the works of Mondrian:
- My first encounter in 2002 was in a paper by Robert Welsh, when I started this page.
- I found Florette Djikstra's book on her efforts to reconstruct Moss's lost works.
- And while I was waiting for that to arrive from Amazon, found a catalogue from a 1962 exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, written by A. H. Nijhoff, from which the photograph is taken (thanks Frans Melk, dead link). The catalogue is almost entirely in Dutch, but provided the illustrations above and below and a brief history.
- My knowledge at the time was restricted to the notion that (to quote from the previous version of this page), "Moss had some correspondence with (and seemingly some influence over) Mondrian on the subject of the use of double lines in compositions. See here for more details."
- The next spurt of interest was in October 2010. In updating The Pictures pages, I learned that, in addition to her own work, two Mondrians were lost in WW2 which Ms Moss had borrowed from Wim and Tonia Stieltjes. Further details and eventual reconstruction here.
- Then in January 2012 I saw the Rome Mondrian exhibition which included three Moss's from the Haags Gemeentemuseum, my first encounter with the real thing.
- Back home, I decided that this page must be due for a rewrite and in a web search for new material found,
- a 2008 PhD thesis on Moss by Lucy Howarth which is available from the British Library EThOS service. This contains (probably) all that is known about Moss, including a Catalogue Raisonné. It even contains a reference to my Snap Dragon: first in a list of obscure web-site references to Moss and praised as "amongst the oddest".
- I made contact with Lucy Howarth and had the pleasure of meeting her briefly at the Moss show she curated at Tate St Ives in 2013 (reviewed here by Charles Darwent). Lucy has kept me informed of subsequent Moss developments including the 2017 Zurich show.
Nick Blackburn, June 2017
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