The Bloomsbury Group

6 March - 10 August 2025

For the first time in Denmark, at the Nivaagaard Collection we are featuring an exhibition of the English Bloomsbury Group. The group emerged as a powerful force within the cultural and intellectual circles of England in the early 1900s, known for their radical attitudes, anti-authoritarian outlook and a lifestyle that was considered transgressive by the social mores of the time. They lived out a utopia and conducted a radical social experiment that broke with the norms of the Victorian age. In many ways, they were harbingers of the debates we see playing out today in regards to gender, sexual identity, imperialism, colonialism and alternative lifestyles.

The circle was first formed in 1904 at weekly discussion evenings held by the sisters Virginia and Vanessa Stephen, later to be known as the writer Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) and the painter Vanessa Bell (1879–1961). The name “Bloomsbury” refers to the London neighborhood where Vanessa and Virginia settled with their two brothers after the death of their father, literary critic Leslie Stephens, in 1904.

It was here that they opened their home on Thursday and Friday evenings for the discussion of aesthetic and philosophical subjects under the heavy influence of G.E. Moore’s Principia Ethica (1903) and Bertrand Russel’s Principia Mathematica (1910–13). No topics were off limits. These discussions served as a font of inspiration and nurtured a desire to think afresh and to liberate the individual. And not least, they created a space for the free expression of sexual identity, where women could participate on their own terms as thinking and artistically creative beings.

The exhibition is in close collaboration with Charleston, which was home and studio to painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant for decades. The house was a gathering place for some of the 20th century's most radical artists, writers and thinkers known collectively as “The Bloomsbury Group”. It was largely here that they met to imagine a different society with art and experimental thinking at the core.

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