BEANLAND, Frank

Frank Beanland - Elements of a Room
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Frank Beanland (1936-) was born in Bridlington, Yorkshire. A bold, colourful abstract artist, he attended Hull College of Art 1952-57, then Slade School of Fine Art 1959-61. A Boise travelling scholarship took him to Stockholm 1961-2.

Beanland began showing in 1960 at Young Contemporaries then in mixed shows at Drian Galleries, London Group and Gimpel Fils. He settled for a while in the 1960s in Cornwall where he produced much of his best work.

Solo exhibitions include Smiths Galleries One in 1960 and Belgrave Galleries 1999. His work is held by a number of public collections including Leverhulme Trust and Slade School and the Lodz Museum in Poland.


BEVES, Pamela

Pamela Beves - Spanish Valley
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Pamela Kathleen Beves (1920-2006) was born in Sussex, England and attended Brighton College of Arts from 1945-47, studying under Dorothy Coke and Leslie Cole, and then Farnham School of Arts in Surrey.

She worked as an illustrator and abstract artist and had one person shows in both London, at Archer Gallery in 1955 and Woodstock Gallery in 1959, and in New York where she had a solo exhibition in 1973 at Galerie Internationale on Madison Avenue.

Mixed exhibitions included Redfern, Leicester and Beaux Arts Galleries in London and SEA in Stockholm. She has an entry in Benezit and her style and colourings appear to have been an influence on Barbara Rae.


BIRD, Robert

Robert Bird - untitled
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Bob Bird (1921-2016) initially trained as a graphic designer at Birmingham School of Art until the war intervened. After active duty which had included the liberation of Belsen concentration camp, on his return he switched to Fine Art where he studied under Bernard Fleetwood-Walker.

Bird initially worked on landscapes and floral studies but moved towards abstraction. He lectured in fine art at Newcastle College of Art & Design in the 1960s, rising to become Head of Fine Art there, before taking up a similar position at Stoke-on-Trent Art College. He was also an adviser for the Arts Council of Great Britain.

He painted throughout this period and had some prestigious exhibitions including at the Oxford Gallery and the Mayor Gallery in London.  Bird also had work shown at the Royal Academy and in mixed exhibitions abroad. In the later 1970s and 1980s he worked on abstract constructions. Laing Gallery in Newcastle holds his work.


BLAKESTON, Oswell

Oswell Blakeston - Safely Home
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Oswell Blakeston (1907-1985) was a painter, writer, film maker and critic. A man of extraordinary talents, Blakeston’s family was of Austrian origin and he was born Henry Hasslacher. At age 16 he ran away from a bourgeois upbringing to become a conjuror’s assistant, a cinema organist and then a clapper boy with David Lean at Gaumont film studios.

He began writing film criticism and, with Francis Brugiere, in the early 1930s he pioneered abstract films in Britain. As well as his painting and art criticism, Blakeston was also a novelist, playwright and poet with a “quick eye for the bizarre and the outrageous” according to his long-term partner and fellow artist Max Chapman.

Blakeston had over 40 solo shows, including Drian and Grabowski Galleries and New Vision Centre, and some 100 mixed shows. These included Leicester, Madden and Mercury Galleries. In 1981 he shared a show at Middlesborough Art Gallery with Max Chapman and in 1986 there was a memorial show at Camden Arts Centre. Victoria & Albert Museum and the Ulster Museum in Belfast hold his work, as do national galleries in Finland, Poland and Portugal.


BORNFRIEND, Jacob

Jacob Bornfriend - untitled
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Jacob Bornfriend (1904-1976) was born in Zborav in Slovakia and educated at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague under Willi Nowak 1930-5. Bornfriend emigrated to England in 1939, settling in London. He had his first solo show at Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London in 1950 and in 1957 painted a large mural for Jew’s College, London. Initially painting still lives and landscapes, Bornfriend’s work – which exudes a quiet beauty – increasingly turned towards the abstract.

The Tate Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery, Leeds Museum and Art Gallery, several colleges at Oxford and many galleries abroad hold his work. These include Museum of Bochum, Germany and Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand. Slovak capital Bratislava’s City Art Gallery gave him a retrospective in 2008 and Bornfriend’s work was included in a mixed exhibition at the London Jewish Museum of Art in 2009. Connaught-Brown showed Bornfriend’s work alongside two other émigré artists in 2013.


BOWEN, Denis

Denis Bowen - Planet Series D5
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Denis Bowen (1921-2006) was born in Kimberly, South Africa of Welsh parentage but left for England as a child. He studied at the Royal College of Art from 1946-50, where teachers included Rodrigo Moynihan, John Minton and Carel Weight.

Bowen soon made his name as a leading experimental artist; in 1952 with other members of the ICA he founded the Free Painters’ Group and from 1956-66 he directed the New Vision Centre, initially with Frank Avray Wilson and Halima Nalecz. This became the focal point in London for work of advanced artists from Europe and elsewhere.

From 1969-1972 he taught at Victoria University, British Colombia and in later life he was a leading light in Celtic Vision which he co-founded in 1982.

Bowen showed widely, at the Redfern Gallery and elsewhere, and major late career retrospectives included Belgrave Gallery, London in 2001, Blyth Gallery, Imperial College in 2002 and Rome Museum of Modern Art in 2006.

His work is held by the Tate Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum and many regional collections in the UK. It is also in public collections in Australia, USA, Canada, Italy, Poland, Macedonia, Israel and elsewhere.


DONOVAN, Terence

Terence Donovan - unsigned
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Terence Donovan (1936-1996) was born in the East End of London and studied photography at the London College of Art and Photography. He sprang to fame in the late 1950s with portraits of film stars and through the 1960s was one of a handful of photographers who captured London during “the swinging ‘60s”.

He continued to take photographs throughout his life, including of Princess Diana and other society figures, but in his later years developed a love of painting. He exhibited vast abstracts to great acclaim at Albemarle Gallery in Mayfair in 1990.


LANZI, Francois

Francois Lanzi - Into the Blue
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Francois Lanzi (1916-1988) was born in Corsica and studied art in Paris under Guillot de Raffaillac. A prisoner of war from 1940-45, he came to live in the UK in 1954 and exhibited at a number of London Galleries including Redfern Gallery 1957, Royal Society of British Artists Gallery 1959 & 1960, Savage Gallery 1961 and Royal Academy 1965. Lanzi also had a number of exhibitions at the Artists International Association (AIA) in Soho, notably a solo exhibition in April-May 1967. In addition he showed in the provinces, including Stone Gallery at Newcastle in 1961.

A promising career was stymied by Lanzi becoming a virtual recluse from the 1960s, although he continued to paint and produce collages throughout his life at his Chiddingfold, Surrey home.

A major retrospective was held in 1994 at The Gallery in Woking. Lanzi’s work was in the ICI collection and is in a number of private collections in Britain, France and the United States.


MAYERSON, Anna

Anna Mayerson - Collage
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Anna Mayerson (1906-1984) was born in Vienna to a German Jewish family and studied art at the Vienna Academy and the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Zurich before fleeing Vienna for England in 1938.

She studied at the Slade School of Art in London and had solo shows at the Modern Art Gallery in 1942 and the Leger Gallery in 1943, both in London. In 1946 she took part in a show of five artists at the Redfern Gallery, others including Jankel Adler, Raoul Ubac and Graham Sutherland and in 1948 she had an exhibition with one other artist at the Hanover Gallery.

Her career in England was interrupted as Mayerson went to live in Taormina, Sicily from 1949-1959. During this period she exhibited extensively in Europe and Truman Capote described drawings for the front-piece of his 1951 novel The Grass Harp as ‘superb – beyond anything’.

She had a solo show in Galeria Odyssia in Rome in 1961 and two one-person exhibitions at Annely Juda Fine Art in London in 1971 and 1972. Numerous mixed exhibitions included A.I.A., Leicester Galleries, Arts Council and London Group.

Stylistically Mayerson began her career as a figurative artist but from the 1950s to mid-1960s painted in a bold abstract expressionist style, often using bitumen and metalwork in her paintings and constructions. From the mid-1960s Mayerson brought back figurative motifs, notably of heads and faces. Ben Uri Gallery and Somerville College, Oxford hold her work.


MENDEZ, Theo

Theo Mendez - untitled
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Theo Mendez (1934-1997) was an artist in oil, acrylic and collage who was born in and lived in London. He studied at Camberwell School of Art, 1950-7, and at London University 1957-8. Teachers included Martin Bloch and Michael Rothenstein. Mendez taught at Camberwell 1958-84, becoming head of textiles in 1976, before retiring to paint full-time.

He took part in group shows at Redfern Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Bear Lane Gallery in Oxford and Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, and in the 1972 and 1979 John Moores Liverpool Exhibitions. Retrospectives included Duncan Campbell Fine Art in 2002, four solo shows at Highgate Fine Art and an exhibition of his early oils at Whitfield Fine Art, London in 2010. Museum of London holds his work.

Mendez frequently visited Paris, soaking up the atmosphere in cafes and getting inspiration for new paintings and collages and a trip to New York in 1980 added breadth to his vision.

In 1990 Mendez wrote about his painting “It is not representational or literal… but sometimes symbolic of an event or place witnessed, felt or experienced… a moment in time. Each work must ultimately stand by itself without being part of a series or having a title or clue as to its origin. I love the variety of the medium, the spreading of colour and the interaction of colour and colour areas… sometimes the work comes almost directly via music, to which I listen constantly – several hours every day, like food and drink. It is essential if I achieve anything at all, it has, for me, to stand lasting contemplation”.