Oh, To Be a Painter!


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ISBN: 9781644230589 Category:

Virginia Woolf


Virgina Woolf’s collection of writings on visual arts offer a whole new perspective on the revolutionary author.

Despite wide interest in Woolf’s writings, her circle, and her relationship with the visual arts, there is no accessible edition or selection of essays dedicated to her writings on art. This newest edition in David Zwirner Books’s ekphrasis series collects such essays including “Walter Sickert: A Conversation” (1934), “Pictures” (1925), and “Pictures and Portraits” (1920).

These formally inventive texts examine the connection between the literary writer and the visual artist and are innovative in their treatment of ideas about color and modern art as experienced in picture galleries. In these essays, Woolf looks at the complex and interdependent relationship between the artist and society. She also provides sharp and astute commentary on specific works of art and the relationship between art and writing.

An introduction by Claudia Tobin situates the essays within their cultural contexts.

Additional information

Weight 78 g
Dimensions 10.5 x 17.6 cm
Publisher name David Zwirner Books
Publication date 17 February 2022
Number of pages 144
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Introduction by Claudia Tobin
Dimensions 10.5 x 17.6 cm
Weight 78 g


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Dr. Claudia Tobin is a writer, literary critic, curator, and art historian specializing in the relationship between modern and contemporary literature and the visual arts. She is the author of Modernism and Still Life: Artists, Writers, Dancers (2020) and co-editor of Ways of Drawing: Artists' Perspectives and Practices (2019). She has worked on two major exhibitions exploring Virginia Woolf's life and art, including Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision at the National Portrait Gallery (2014) and Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by her Writings (Tate St Ives, Pallant House, Fitzwilliam Museum, 2018) and has curated numerous exhibitions on contemporary artists. Tobin is a senior research associate at the Intellectual Forum, Jesus College Cambridge, and a visiting fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London.