STURGESS-LIEF, Christopher

Christopher Sturgess-Lief


Chris Sturgess-Lief was a self-taught painter who created evocative and poetic pictures using a highly individual private symbolism. Adopted  as a baby, possible from ethnic German parents in the Soviet Union, Sturgess-Lief was schooled at Sherbourne, Dorset. After army service in Malaya, he then moved to London and began showing on the Hyde Park railings in the early 1960s. He was spotted by Victor Musgrave of Gallery One, who gave Sturgess-Lief a solo show in 1962. He also exhibited at Rye Art gallery in 1969 and took part in mixed shows at New Vision Centre, Leicester Galleries, Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol in 1963 and others in Japan and the United States.


His Red Painting was included in the Belgrave Gallery’s 1992 show British abstract art of the 1950s and 60s, and in 1997 Julian Hartnoll in St James’ put on a solo exhibition of his work.  A contemporary of the highly sought after Martin Bradley and Alan Davie, his work is comparable both in terms of style and quality.



WILSON, Frank Avray

Frank Avray Wilson

Frank Avray Wilson was born in Mauritius and trained as a scientist, gaining a master’s degree in biology at Cambridge before his strong interest in art led him to study painting in Norway and France. In 1956 Avray Wilson helped Denis Bowen found the New Vision Centre Gallery, a showplace for abstract and other modern art. Initially inspired by American Expressionism, Avray Wilson produced some of the most dynamic abstracts of the post-war period in Britain. His work ranged over spiky linear compositions, through others more spare and geometric towards a mature style that comprised images both disciplined and energetic. Avray Wilson sought “to create a synthetic vitality, more living than life, the means of supplying our anti-vital, anti-human society with intense symbols”. His scientific background was of key importance in understanding his approach to painting, which he expounded in four books.


London-based, Avray Wilson had a first solo show at Obelisk Gallery in 1954 and later showed at Leicester Galleries, Redfern Gallery, the Royal Academy and Austin/Desmond Fine Art amongst others. He gained a strong reputation in Europe, notably in Belgium and in France where he also exhibited. He was represented for many years by the Redfern Gallery and was included in Redfern’s 50th anniversary show in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions in London have been given by Paisnel Gallery and Whitford Fine Art. Avray Wilson’s work is held in the United States by the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg and Cleveland Museum of Modern Art in Ohio. Public collections in the UK include the Arts Council and galleries in Durham, Leeds, Leicester, Swansea and Wakefield.