John Craxton 1922 - 2009

An English painter, John Craxton was born in London in 1922 and studied at the Central School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College. In 1942 he became friends with Graham Sutherland and Lucian Freud, sharing a studio in London with Lucian Freud and, as can be seen from his works of this period, very strongly influenced by Graham Sutherland and Samuel Palmer.

Craxton was a huge fan of William Blake’ s. One of the first works he ever purchased was by Blake. He felt that Blake represented the English imagination, held up in contrast to the ‘ pomposity’ of eighteenth century English painting.

After World War II he travelled around the Mediterranean, visiting Greece for the first time in the summer of 1946 before finally settling in Crete in 1960. His early work of the 1940s was often labeled as neo-romantic, filled as it is with a combination of the light and life of Greece and the (imaginative approach) of Blake. The early influence of William Blake gave way to that of Cubism and an admiration for Picasso, placing Craxton in a much more European context. Craxton rejects the label of neo-romantic preferring the title of Arcadian painter. His themes are of course both romantic and pastoral. However the combination of figures with abstraction and his emphasis on the human in his landscapes; fishermen, animals and houses fill his paintings reveal what has been called a more humanist approach to his portrayals of Cretian life. And it is the essence of life which infuses his work, combined with an energy of light and colour. ... read more

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John Craxton Paintings and Drawings

House in Rocky Landscape

John Craxton: House in Rocky Landscape, 1945

Landscape (Spetses, Greece)

John Craxton: Landscape (Spetses, Greece), 1946

Study for Hotel by the Sea

John Craxton: Study for Hotel by the Sea, 1946

The Goatherd

John Craxton: The Goatherd, 1950

Boy Leaning On A Step

John Craxton: Boy Leaning On A Step, 1954

Bouzouki Player I

John Craxton: Bouzouki Player I, 1955

The Guitarist

John Craxton: The Guitarist, 1960

Young Man with Cigarette

John Craxton: Young Man with Cigarette, 1961

(Boy with Goat)

John Craxton: (Boy with Goat), 1970

Cretan Gorge

John Craxton: Cretan Gorge, 1970

Lanzarote Landscape

John Craxton: Lanzarote Landscape, 1976

Cat in a Window

John Craxton: Cat in a Window, 1982

Rock, Tree and Cat

John Craxton: Rock, Tree and Cat, 1986

Cat and Butterfly

John Craxton: Cat and Butterfly, 1988

Head of Young Man

John Craxton: Head of Young Man, c.1947 / 8

Head of a Man

John Craxton: Head of a Man, c.1960s

Reclining Male Nude

John Craxton: Reclining Male Nude, c.1970s

Dancer VII

John Craxton: Dancer VII, c1950s

Still Life

John Craxton: Still Life, c1960

Horse and Rider

John Craxton: Horse and Rider, c1960s

Sleeping Cat

John Craxton: Sleeping Cat, c1960s

John Craxton Prints

Boy in a Fig Tree

John Craxton: Boy in a Fig Tree

Cat and Mirror

John Craxton: Cat and Mirror, 1992

Two Cats Playing

John Craxton: Two Cats Playing, 1995

Cats and Chair

John Craxton: Cats and Chair, 1997


John Craxton: Chrismouse, 2002

Olive Trees

John Craxton: Olive Trees, 2008