Nina Hamnett

Nina Hamnett ( born February 14, 1890 in Tenby, † December 16, 1956 in London) was a British painter, sculptor and writer. It was regarded as " La reine Bohème" of the early 20th century.


Nina Hamnett studied from 1906 to 1907 at the Pelham Art School and then at the London School of Art until 1910. Prior to the outbreak of World War I. Hamnett traveled to France, where she studied art history in Paris at the Académie Marie Vassilieffs. In the art colony La Ruche in Montparnasse she had her studio. Within a short time they became acquainted with the most famous artists of the city, including Amedeo Modigliani, Jean Cocteau, Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, and Pablo Picasso. Through her ​​eccentric life and her bisexuality, she became a well-known figure throughout the bohemian Paris and a role model for many artists. After she danced naked on the table at the Café de la Rotonde, Picasso called her La Bohème pure.

Upon her return to England she taught from 1917 to 1918 at the Westminster Technical Institute. Hamnett separated from her Norwegian husband, the artist Kristian Roald to live with the composer Ernest John Moeran together. Later she went a physical and professional liaison with Roger Fry, member of the famous Bloomsbury Group, and worked with in his art studio founded in 1913 Omega Workshops.

Nina Hamnett 1932 published her autobiography Laughing Torso, in which she described her life in France. The book became a bestseller in the UK and in the United States. In the same year she was sued by the occultist Aleister Crowley libel because she had shown him in her book as a practitioner of black magic. Crowley suffered not only a defeat in court because the evidence adduced by Nina Hamnett evidence was overwhelming, but he also lost his entire fortune.

Nina Hamnett, who had for many years operated alcohol abuse, died on December 16, 1956 in London at the consequences of a fall from the window of her apartments.

Portraits of Roger Fry ( selection)

Nina Hamnett, oil on canvas (1917 )

Nina Hamnett, oil on canvas (1917 )

Nina Hamnett with guitar, oil on canvas (1917 /18)