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Marjorie Jewel Moss
Marjorie Jewel Moss, sometimes spelled ‘Marjorie Jewell Moss’, (1889–1958) was a British Constructivist artist who worked in painting and sculpture. She was a contemporary and good friend of Piet Mondriaan. To date her work is most consistently approached in reference to Mondriaan, a context that casts her in the role of follower, or worse: imitator.
In 1919, at the age of 30, Moss suffered a breakdown and left the Slade School of Fine Art and London, for isolation in Cornwall. Her collapse may have been related to the recent discovery of her sexual orientation, and seems to precipitate a further distancing from her family, which whom she already had a strained relationship.
After some time and introspection, Moss was sufficiently recovered to make some serious changes. She returned to London, but not her family, and embarked upon a new life. She made an existentialist resolve never again to indulge in ‘emotional nihilism’ and that ‘life is not a matter of happiness or unhappiness’ but ‘a matter of living and creating’. She cut her hair and adopted a new, more androgynous name, ‘Marlow’; far more appropriate for her new persona than ‘Marjorie Jewel’.
Her appearance was often described as ‘bird-like’, party due to her small stature. Her partner, Netty Nijhoff, called Moss ‘the bird’.
See also Piet Mondriaan and Netty Nijhoff.
Howarth, L. (2008), Marlow Moss (1889–1958), pp.83–125
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