Chris Sturgess-Lief was a self-taught painter who created evocative and poetic pictures using a highly individual private symbolism. Adopted as a baby, possibly from ethnic German parents in the Soviet Union, Sturgess-Lief was schooled at Sherborne, 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.