The Serious Charm of Edward Bawden

Some critics mutter “tame” and—dread word—“charming,” and sneer at the twee marketing of Edward Bawden’s prints on greetings cards, handbags, kitchen tea-towels, and fridge magnets. But there’s more to Bawden than that. His admirers proclaim him as a mischievous genius, an edgy, brilliant designer, blending tradition with modernism. Yet the question echoes, as it so often does for those who follow a commercial career: Is he “a proper artist”? But after seeing the rich and surprising variety of work in the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s show, who can say that Edward Bawden is not?

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