Gluck: Her Biography

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In British artist Gluck painted herself and her lover in a radical depiction of same-sex partnership. With a show at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery exploring her life and work, we look at the story behind the painting. The painter known as Gluck was born Hannah Gluckstein in , into the family who owned the Lyons catering empire.

They sat in the third row of the stalls and Gluck felt the intensity of the music fused them into one. It was her public declaration of love and commitment. We are not to be trifled with.

Gluck - Her Biography paperback

Medallion has the feel of propaganda art. Gluck appears in the foreground. She was 41 in and, until this coup de foudre , had been in a four-year relationship with Constance Spry, florist par excellence to royalty and high society.

Poet Louise Glück reads from A Village Life

Nesta was 43 with a glittering social life and a wealthy elderly husband whom she had no wish to offend. In Medallion they stare determinedly into their merged future. Gluck, Lilies, Private collection. With Nesta she painted fleeting scenes of shared times: punting on a lake, Christmas festivities. When the relationship ended because Nesta would not leave her husband, Gluck broke down.

It shows her distressed and bereaved. The significance of Medallion was not openly discussed when Gluck painted it in Male homosexuality was a criminal offence. There was no acceptable vocabulary for being lesbian or transgendered.

Gluck was acclaimed as a society painter of landscapes, portraits and flowers, not as a gender-questioning subversive. The questions it codes of identity, sexual orientation, same-sex union and equal marriage rights are very much to the fore.

Gluck, a queer painter ahead of her time |

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