Marlow Jewell MOSS

Marlow Jewell MOSS
Born Marjorie Jewell Moss

Born Marjorie Jewell Moss, in Richmond, Surrey, the artist studied at St John's Wood School of Art and the Slade School. She first visited Cornwall in 1919, and stayed for four years in a reclusive fit of despondency (as she described it). From 1924-1926 she returned to Cornwall, having changed her forename to Marlow, adopting a masculine persona and dressing like a jockey. She began to take sculpture lessons at the Penzance Art School.

In 1927 she visited Paris where she met Mondrian, and was greatly influenced by his geometric style and use of primary colours. She studied there under Leger and Ozenfant, and on Mondrian's recommendation became a founder member in 1931 of the 'Abstraction-Creation' group in Paris. This was set up to promote and discuss non-figurative art through exhibition and publication. It continued until 1936, publishing five annuals, with Moss being the only woman and only British artist to feature in all five of them.

All of her work up to 1940 was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1944, when her former home with Netty Nijhoff (Chateau d'Evreux, Gauciel) was laid waste.

In 1941 she returned to live in Penzance, remaining in Cornwall until her death. In an unusual exhibition at the Tate Gallery (St Ives) in 1995, the artist, author and art historian, Florette DIJKSTRA presented a 'catalogue of images', reconstructions on 1:10 scale, together with a set of 1:2 scale reconstructions, to 'acquire insight into the structure and development of Marlow Moss's oeuvre.' This work, initiated and carried out by Dijkstra, based on many years of research and travel, was in the author/artist's words executed with the 'ultimate goal of opening up a new place in art history for Marlow Moss's work.' W Rotzler (Zurich) has argued that Marlow Moss's work is England's most consistent contribution to Constructivist art, and Germaine Greer that Moss probably had more influence on later developments in art than Mondrian, especially in relation to English artists such as Ben NICHOLSON, Mary MARTIN and Kenneth MARTIN and Michael CANNEY.

At her death in 1958, Marlow Moss's ashes (at her request) were scattered over the sea at Lamorna. For many years afterwards, her work was neglected in the UK. However, the #MeToo movement and debates around trans-gender issues have brought it back into prominence, in particular by the Tate Gallery, which recognises her as one of Britain's most important 'Geometric Abstaction/Constructivist' painters.



works and access

Works include: Wit Geel Blauw en Rood; Sculptural Form (1943);  Emblems of Loss and Neglect; Black White Red and Grey; 

Access to works: Dijkstra book (Ills); Art and Craft magazine October/November; Inside Cornwall article on Florette Dikstra and Marlow Moss ( picture ); Independent article in Visual Arts December 1997; Hypatia Book Marlow Moss: Constructivists and the reconstruction project (1995, many images)


Hanover Gallery, London (2 Solo, 1953, 1958); Hanover Galerie, Zurich (1973); Carus Gallery, New York (1979); Tate St Ives Marlow Moss & the Reconstruction Project (1995); and many group shows.

2013 Tate St Ives Summer Exhibition: 18 May - 29 September


Djikstra (Illus, bibliography) Patten Press 1995

Gaze (1997) Dictionary of Women Artists

Greer (1979) The Obstacle Race

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn & West Cornwall bibl

Newton et al Painting at the Edge

Tovey, David (2022) Lamorna - An Artistic, Social and Literary History - Volume II - Post-1920, Wilson Books 

Visual Arts article (Independent 9 Dec 1997)

Watson 'Marlow Moss' [in] Arts Review, vol 27, no 8 1975