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

John Craxton Latest catalogue Latest catalogue

John Craxton Prints

Boy in a Fig Tree

John Craxton: Boy in a Fig Tree