Peter Lanyon 1918-1964
Painter of landscape abstraction in oils, gouache and watercolours; constructivist, muralist and potter. Born in St Ives, Cornwall, he took lessons from Borlase Smart in 1936, and attended the Penzance School of Art in 1937. He met Adrian Stokes in 1937 and in 1938 spent four months at the Euston Road School. In 1939 he met Nicholson, Hepworth and Gabo and received tuition from Nicholson. In the 1940s and 1950s he visited Italy and America and held his first solo exhibition in London at the Lefevre Gallery in 1949. He subsequently showed regularly in London galleries (including Gimpel fils), in America from 1953, in the provinces and internationally in group exhibitions. Member of the Crypt Group 1946-7, founder member of the Penwith Society 1949-50, and Member in 1953, and Chairman in 1960, of the Newlyn Society of Artists, his work is represented in public collections including the Tate Gallery and the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, He taught at Bath Academy of Art from 1950-7, ran an art school with Frost and Redgrave at St Ives 1957-60, and between 1960 and 1964 taught at Falmouth, Bristol and at the San Antonio Art Institute, Texas. his mural work included commissions for the Universities of Liverpool in 1960, and Birmingham in 1963. Although abstract, his paintings are directly related with the experience of landscape, particularly that of Cornwall. Influenced by Cubism and Constructivism through Nicholson and Gabo, he turned to making constructions as preparation for paintings circa 1939, returning to landscape painting after the war but continuing to make constructions for paintings. His work developed from built-up surfaces to a more fluid, direct technique and the experience of gliding in the 1960s enabled him to combine element of land, sea and sky in his paintings.
Lanyon died in Taunton, Somerset, as the result of injuries received in a gliding accident. Despite his early death at the age of just forty-six he achieved an original and influential body of work.
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