20th Century British Art
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Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912 - 2004)

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham attended the Edinburgh College of Art (1931–1939). In 1940 she moved to St Ives, where she rented no. 3 Porthmeor Studios until 1946 and joined the NSA and the STISA – leaving the latter in 1949 to become a founding member of the Penwith Society of Arts. 

After the war, she travelled regularly in Europe and taught at Leeds School of Art in the mid-1950s. In 1952, she held her first solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery. 

Although she spoke of feeling sidelined by the increasingly discordant community in St Ives, Barns-Graham was considered a pioneer of post-war British abstraction and exhibited numerously, at the RA, WIAC, Tom Caldwell Gallery, Marjorie Parr Gallery and the RSA. In 1985, she was given a retrospective exhibition at Tate St Ives and was appointed CBE in 2001.

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