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Muriel Pemberton RWS FSIA (1909-1993)


Muriel Pemberton, RWS FSIA (1909-1993)

Muriel Pemberton was a pioneering teacher of fashion and an artist of highly pleasurable figures, flower pieces and abstracts.

Becoming a successful, and worse, a world-famous teacher has often proved the kiss of death to any serious artistic reputation the person may have. Even discounting rivals and enemies who nod sagely and murmur ‘Those who can do; those who can’t, teach’, it is almost inevitable that the calls teaching makes on one’s time and energies, plus the difficulty of keeping one’s end up in a world that, if not hostile, is at the very least totally unconcerned, defeats the best efforts of even the most determined artists. Among all those who have died in their eighties, Muriel Pemberton arguably found the best solution: like Katherine Moore, who published the first of her three brilliant novels in her eighties, once she was safely retired (or sort of), Muriel went back to her original obsessive production of art, painting, like they say, as if there were no tomorrow – because, after all, there might well not be.

By no means all the works in this show were painted in Muriel’s seventies and eighties, but many of them were. She began as an ordinary art student, who just happened to have this particular interest in fashion. This cannot have been so unusual among female art students of the 1920s.

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Still Life