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R. H. Wilenski Papers

Date range: 1913-1975

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Reginald Howard Wilenski (1887-1975) was one of the foremost art critics of the inter-war years, alongside Roger Fry and Clive Bell. He established his reputation with The Modern Movement in Art (London: Faber and Gwyer, 1927), and over the next few years he produced a series of books linked to the Royal Academy’s major winter exhibitions. He was appointed special lecturer in art at Bristol University (1930-31) and he held a special lectureship in the history of art at the University of Manchester from 1933 until 1945. He also edited over forty titles in the Faber Gallery series of colour-plate albums.

R. H. Wilenski’s papers, which were discovered in the Art History Department of the University of Manchester in the 1980s, comprise files relating to notable artists such as William Blake, Edmund Dulac, Jacob Epstein, Giorgio de Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Walter Sickert and Stanley Spencer. These contain correspondence, notes, newscuttings, obituaries, lecture notes, proof copies of articles and photographs. There are letters from, amongst others, Jacob Epstein, Mark Gertler, Augustus John, Eric Kennington and Walt Kuhn.

The collection is an important resource for studies of 20th-century art, and for the history of art criticism.

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Outline catalogue available via Special Collections reading rooms.

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