Airy, Anna, 1882-1964; Mrs Monica Burnand

Paintings like this do not alas do anything for the reputation of painters like Anna Airy: they are thought too easy on the eye, too feminine, too redolent of social history. They are indeed the equivalent in paint of a Dorothy Whipple novel: where is the modernism, the oddity, the undertones and implications that can be analysed by academics? Not here for sure. Mrs Monica Burnand (as the painting is called) is a young woman in wartime (it was 1916) wearing a dress that she loves. Make of that what you will art historians! But we are in awe of Anna Airy’s genius.

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