Betty Rea

(1904—1965) sculptor

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British sculptor and political activist, born in London. Her formation as an artist included studies under Henry Moore at the Royal College of Art. An early carving in mahogany, Mother and Child (1925), shows Moore's influence and her interest in direct carving. In the early 1930s she moved in Communist circles and made several trips to Russia. In 1932 she was a founding member of the Artists International Association. Her sculpture during this period was closely associated with her political work. As Gillian Whiteley points out, her 1938 sculpture Holidays with Pay ‘echoes the optimistic and heroic view of work found in Soviet Socialist Realist art’. After the war, her sculpture became less overtly political, and she tended to specialize in the representation of children and adolescent girls. Her political record and the relatively traditional nature of her work made her a British artist whose works were acceptable in the Communist world and she exhibited to some acclaim in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, in 1955.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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