The new Laura Knight exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery opens on Thursday as the first Laura Knight exhibit to show only portraits done by the artist. The collection begins with her iconic “Self Portrait” piece from 1913, which features her close friend and artist Ella Louise Naper. By beginning at this point in Knight’s career, the Gallery makes the argument that Knight’s career in portraiture didn’t begin until she was well into her 30’s , and also doesn’t allow for the Cornish landscape scenes and other Impressionistic pieces which make up the bulk of Knight’s earlier work. The gallery goes through 35 of Knight’s portraits chronologically, evincing the many changes in Knight’s style through the sheer breadth of the collection: the gallery touches on her impressionistic beginnings with a few pieces from her time living in Cornwall and moves through her famous Gypsy series to the more daring pieces from her time as an official artist at the Nuremberg War Trials. In this manner the exhibit is able to explore the magnitude of skills possessed by the first female artist to be inducted into the Royal Academy since its founding in 1798.
The Laura Knight exhibit will be on at the National Portrait Gallery until October 11th, 2013.