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Title: Domesticity and masculinity in 1950s British painting
Author: Salter, Gregory
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines how men experienced domesticity in the 1950s in Britain and analyses the role that artistic representations play in the expression and formulation of this masculine selfhood in this context. It considers domesticity at this historical moment as an inherently flexible concept: one that takes in the private spaces of the home as well as more public realms and aspects beyond it, and includes a variety of relationships, both familial and non-familial. At the same time, it highlights the social structures surrounding domesticity in Britain at this time – exemplified by the policies and aims of the welfare state and post-war reconstruction, and their reflection in institutions and social beliefs – particularly their assumptions about specific gender roles, particularly in relation to masculinity, in the context of the family, sexuality and work. As a result, my thesis examines how four male artists operated in this context – as individuals negotiating particular identifications of masculine selfhood within their own private and unstable conceptions of domesticity, in relation to, and sometimes at odds with, the public social structures in Britain around them. It focuses on the art of four male artists working in Britain in the immediate post-war period: John Bratby, Francis Bacon, Keith Vaughan and Victor Pasmore. By placing their work in a wide social and cultural context, including social history, sociology, psychoanalysis, literature, and the popular press, this thesis significantly expands the academic work on modern art in Britain after the Second World War. Furthermore, it begins to interrogate and expand on the relationship between art, domesticity, selfhood, and, more broadly, everyday life. By focusing on the ways in which art and life interact in the work of these artists, it argues that artistic representations, for these artists at this historical moment, serve as ways to negotiate the unstable and seemingly impossible task of selfhood, within the expansive, fluctuating realms of domesticity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available