Patrick Heron 1920-1999
Painter of abstracts in oils and gouaches; textile designer, art critic and writer. Born in Leeds, he lived in Cornwall from 1925 to 1929, studied at the Slade School from 1937 – 39 and worked as an assistant to Bernard Leach at St Ives in 1944-45. In 1945 he moved to London, but continued to visit St Ives and returned to live in Cornwall at Zennor in 1956, taking over Ben Nicholson’s studio in St Ives in 1958. He exhibited at the Redfern Gallery between 1947 and 1958 and at the Waddington Galleries from 1960. He taught at the Central School of Art from 1953-56, lectured in Australia in 1967 and 1973 and in America in 1978. He has shown extensively both nationally and internationally and retrospective exhibitions of his work include those at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1972 and the Barbican Art Gallery in 1985. His work is represented in numerous public collections including the Tate Gallery and the V & A.
His prizes include the Grand Prize, John Moore Exhibition, 1959, and a silver medal in the VIII Biennial de São Paolo, 1965. A Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1980 to 1987, he has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Exeter, Kent and the RCA, London. He received his CBE in 1977. During the 1940s and 1950s he was art critic for a number of publications and he also designed for Cresta Silks. The main focus of his work is colour. His early painting was influenced by Braque and in the 1950s he turned to abstraction. By the 1970s this took the form of highly coloured shapes which gave an overpowering optical sensation and intense interaction of colour. In later work form and colour became more expansive and organic with greater reference to the natural world.
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