Paintings and Fantasies by Stephen Tennant
To celebrate Stephen Tennant's 115th birthday I have photographed the exhibition catalogue of 'Paintings and Fantasies by Stephen Tennant'. The exhibition was held at the Sagittarius Gallery in Rome, 1st to the 10th of April 1956. The catalogue includes a list of the paintings that featured at the exhibition, an open letter to Rex Nan Kivell from The Redfern Gallery London titled 'Abstract Art is a Clarifier', 'A Reassessment of Poetry' and a poem titled 'On Lover's Earth.'
So often I see writers, critics and private individuals slander Stephen's intelligence, reduce his art, writing, work and character to mere vanity and shallowness, stating that his circle of brilliant writers and artists only kept him in their company for status and amusement. I thought that it was high time that he spoke for himself about his feelings and views on art and poetry, and this exhibition catalogue is a good start. So far in my research I have only seen his writing in short snippets from the diaries of his youth, and quotes used to perpetuate the idea that he was the flippant lord who wasted his life in bed. From my point of view as a fellow invalid, the fact that he was able to create art, write, travel and enjoy life with the people he loved is a life well lived. Even if illness won in the end.
I have been unable to track down with any certainty the paintings listed in the catalogue so instead I have put together a gallery of his work from other exhibitions, book cover designs and pages from his travel journals.