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Arthur, Ernestine and Marianne Segal: Painting, Education and Therapy
8 July 2021 6:00 pm
In 1936 refugee artist and educator Arthur Segal (1875-1944) founded his ‘Painting School for Professionals and Non-Professionals’ in Bloomsbury with his wife Ernestine and daughter Marianne, having fled Berlin in 1933. The Segals taught using a set of ‘objective principles of painting’ that Arthur had formulated during the 1920s which, in a rejection of pre-WW1 Expressionism, focused on representing subjects from life naturalistically by focusing on light, form and colour. Rooted in convictions about the inherent value of art making and the ‘learnability’ of painting, the school taught amateur as well as professional artists, and, with much support from Ernestine and Marianne, Arthur also developed an early form of art therapy in Britain.
Forming partnerships with psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, he disseminated his ideas about art’s therapeutic uses in these circles and gave painting lessons to adults and children for psychological purposes. During the war, the school also ran a programme for Members of the Forces under the Army Education Scheme. In this talk, Imogen Wiltshire will discuss Segal’s approach to art making, the mechanisms and networks through which the family established themselves socially and professionally, and the contributions they made to art education and therapeutic care in Britain.
Dr Imogen Wiltshire is an art historian specialising in modern and contemporary art, based at the University of Leicester. In May 2021 she co-organised a symposium on second-generation visual artists, the recordings of which are available here.
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