John Blackburn b. 1932

John Blackburn (born 1932) is a British abstract painter, who, after critical success in the 1960s, fell into relative obscurity until the early 2000s.

He was born in Luton and attended the Margate School of Art, where he studied textile design. After school, he served in the National Service (and later lived) in New Zealand, Malaysia, and the surrounding area from 1954 to 1962. In Auckland, New Zealand, he met his future wife, Maudie McKinnon. Soon after the couple married, they settled in Glenfield, New Zealand. It was in New Zealand that Blackburn started painting; he would paint in the garden, having become accustomed to the weather, but then later moved on to the North Shore. His paintings were exhibited at the Circle Gallery in Auckland, which established him as a “radical” painter, with his “simple, reduced strong forms in limited pure, unmixed colours.”

In 1962, Blackburn, with his wife and three children, returned to Britain, where the influential art collector and gallery owner Jim Ede saw his one-man show in London’s Woodstock Gallery. Impressed by what he saw, Ede offered Blackburn a place in his Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge among artists including Peter Lanyon, William Scott, and Roger Hilton. Soon after, Blackburn’s ten-year-old daughter became ill and needed a kidney transplant. Blackburn volunteered, spending six months in intense physical training to prepare for the organ transplantation. The time spent before and after the successful surgery prompted Blackburn to drop from the public eye for a number of years. In 2006, Blackburn had a show at the Metropole Galleries in Folkestone; his work had not appeared in a commercial gallery since 1968. This led to a revival of interest in Blackburn’s body of work as he approached eighty-years old. Blackburn’s abstract paintings are now held in private and public collections worldwide. ... read more

John Blackburn The Human and the Abstract The Human and the Abstract

John Blackburn Paintings and Drawings

Black L on Brown/White Square Bottom

John Blackburn: Black L on Brown/White Square Bottom, 1964

Cross (Black on Brown)

John Blackburn: Cross (Black on Brown), 1969

Tin Bath

John Blackburn: Tin Bath, 2005

Four White Squares I

John Blackburn: Four White Squares I, 2013

Four White Squares II

John Blackburn: Four White Squares II, 2013

White Arrowhead

John Blackburn: White Arrowhead, 2016

Fire Painting I

John Blackburn: Fire Painting I, 2017/2018

Fire Painting IX

John Blackburn: Fire Painting IX, 2017/2018

Fire Painting VIII

John Blackburn: Fire Painting VIII, 2017/2018

Fire Painting XIII

John Blackburn: Fire Painting XIII, 2017/2018

Fire Painting XIV

John Blackburn: Fire Painting XIV, 2017/2018

Fire Painting XIX

John Blackburn: Fire Painting XIX, 2017/2018

Fire Painting XX

John Blackburn: Fire Painting XX, 2017/2018

Fire Painting XXII

John Blackburn: Fire Painting XXII, 2017/2018

Fire Painting XXIII

John Blackburn: Fire Painting XXIII, 2017/2018

Fire Painting XXIV

John Blackburn: Fire Painting XXIV, 2017/2018

Fried Egg 1963 Revisited

John Blackburn: Fried Egg 1963 Revisited, 2018

Abstract 1962 revisited

John Blackburn: Abstract 1962 revisited, 2019

Blues/Blacks/Whites 1963 revisited

John Blackburn: Blues/Blacks/Whites 1963 revisited, 2019

Browns 1961 revisited

John Blackburn: Browns 1961 revisited, 2019

Two Shades Side by Side Grey and Ochre 1962 revisited

John Blackburn: Two Shades Side by Side Grey and Ochre 1962 revisited, 2019


John Blackburn: Untitled, c.1964