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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Learning from the 1940’s in times of Coronavirus

In these times of social isolation and lockdown AATA continues to promote access to creatives and their work to enhance our individual and collective resilience to the problems we face.

In the 1940s when the collective trauma emanated from another global pandemic, this time in the guise of a war, a young woman called Brenda Rawnsley commissioned a number of British artists to produce prints which could be sold inexpensively to schools. Her aspiration was to bring quality art to pupils who might not have had access to a local art gallery or, if one was available, lacked the courage to enter it.

The School Prints were an extraordinary succession of colour lithographs, editioned in large numbers and sold at a low cost to schools throughout the UK. Deprived by World War II of visual stimulus, these prints made it possible for British school children to encounter original works of art by leading British and European artists in their own classrooms. The artists who participated in the scheme included L. S. Lowry, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, John Nash, Julian Trevelyan, John Tunnard, Hans Feibusch and the continental artists Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to name but a few.

In the 2020’s could this be replicated? Would it be possible for artists to be commissioned to provide images that could be accessed on phones, laptops, PCs etc?

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