JONES, Jo

Jo Jones - Gypsies applauding a dance at night
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Violet Madeline Josette Jones (1894-1989), or Jo Jones as she was usually known, was born in Knebworth in Hertfordshire. She began painting from an early age and, after using some prize money to fund a stay in Jamaica, she held a successful exhibition there in 1924 that then travelled to Chenil Galleries, Chelsea. She went on to study art in Paris and then attended Slade School in London. Although tutored by both Walter Sickert and Augustus John, her main influences were Bonnard and Matisse.

In 1933 the director of the Tate Gallery, J B Manson, introduced her to Wildenstein Gallery which gave her her first major solo show in 1935. Manson wrote the introduction to the catalogue and the Contemporary Art Society, Augustus John, Sir William Rothenstein and a number of other major collectors all bought pictures.

In 1938 she had a show at Galerie Zbrowski, Paris with another at Wildenstein in 1939. That year she moved to London, which was to remain her base, although she also had a cottage and studio in Long Bredy, Dorset. Subsequently she held several shows at the O’Hana Gallery, London and in Zurich and also exhibited at the Society of Women Artists.

Jones had four distinct periods as a painter; in Paris and London before the war, in Spain in the 1950s, Morocco in the 1960s and after that – although she retained her studio in Chelsea – mainly in Dorset with occasional visits abroad, especially to Vevey and Zurich.

It was in the 1950s that she discovered the Sacro Monte Gypsies in Granada, living and working amongst them for nine summers. A portrait of the flamenco dancer Mario Maya won her a substantial prize that she donated to the dancer to enable him to study in London. Pictures from this period are in the Gypsy Museum at Leeds University. Her work there formed the basis of the 1969 book The Gypsies of Granada with text by Augustus John, Laurie Lee and others.

In 1963 Jones visited Morocco to draw the strange rock formations in the Tafrout Valley. Her work in Morocco in the 1960s was capped by a successful show in Rabat. A talented and very individual artist, Jones showed regularly in Britain, France and Switzerland, having a retrospective at Alpine Gallery 1985. The Michael Parkin Gallery had a memorial exhibition in 1992, as did Six Chapel Row, Bath in 1999.

Her work is held in public collections in Switzerland, France and America as well as the UK and is held in many private collections in the US, Europe and elsewhere.


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”.


MILLINGTON-DRAKE, Teddy

Teddy Millington-Drake - Composition 1962
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Teddy Millington-Drake (1932-1994) was born to a diplomat father and spent much of his childhood travelling. He attended Eton, studying art under Wilfred Blunt, and Oxford before living and painting in Venice and then Patmos, Greece. Millington-Drake in the 1960s worked in an abstract style apparently influenced by Jung, but achieved most fame as a watercolour landscape painter.

India and the Middle East were favourite subjects and destinations. He showed widely in London and New York, notably at Lefevre and Eyre & Hobhouse.


ROONEY, Mick

Mick Rooney - Meeting Place
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Mick Rooney (1944-) was born in Epsom, Surrey and studied at Wimbledon School of Art 1962-64 and Royal College of Art 1964-7. He lives in Mortlake.

Rooney won the Rome Scholarship, attending the British School in Rome 1967-8. A highly regarded figurative artist, known for lively café and crowd scenes, Rooney was elected to the Royal Academy in 1991.

He exhibited from the early 1960s with solo shows at Fulham Gallery, London, Amsterdam and the Hague. He has since shown widely internationally, including in the United States and in the UK at venues such as New Grafton Gallery and elsewhere.


SAUTER, Rudolf

Rudolf Sauter - Study in Space
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Rudolf Helmut Sauter (1895-1977), often known as R H Sauter, was a painter, printmaker, illustrator and poet, son of the artist George Sauter. He was educated at Harrow School, studying art in London and Munich, his father having come from Bavaria. Sauter had strong literary interests, being a member of the writers’ club PEN; he illustrated a definitive edition of works by his uncle John Galsworthy.

Sauter showed at the Royal Academy, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, the Pastel Society, in the provinces, at the Paris Salon where he gained an Hon. Mention, and widely in the United States. He also had one-man shows in London and New York.

Although Sauter’s work is mainly figurative, in later life he did a series of abstracts. Many of Sauter’s paintings were destroyed by a fire in the 1980s but the National Portrait Gallery, Government Art Collection, Royal Watercolour Association and Ferens Art Gallery in Hull hold his work. Cornelia Parker chose a 1935 Sauter portrait as part of her hang of the Government Art Collection at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 2011.


SCHETTINI, Ulrico

Ulrico Schetttini - Torso 4
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Ulrico Schettini (1932-) was born in Cosenza, in the Italian Marches. After studying art at Pesaro, Paris and Rome he settled in England in 1958. An academically-inclined artist, during the 1960s and early 1970s he lectured at Hull College of Arts and Crafts, Carlisle College of Art and Design, Hornsea College of Art, the City Literary Institute and King’ College London. He worked in New York in 1964 and from 1966-71 lectured annually in America under the auspices of the Association of American Colleges.

Schettini’s early work was fiercely modernist, being “emotionally powerful” and displaying a chromatic austerity that “blends a basic outline of form with a free graphic improvisation within that form” (Art News and Review Jan 1959). Critics at the time equated his art with modern jazz movements. From the mid-1960s Schettini began producing more figurative work, in a strong expressive, dark style.

Schettini first solo exhibition was at the experimental New Vision Gallery in London in 1958, followed by one in Newcastle. He then exhibited in London at the Drian Gallery in 1959 and the Institute for Contemporary Art in 1961. He had group shows in London, Paris and Milan and then had a major retrospective exhibition at the Municipal Art Gallery, Hull in 1966 which attracted international attention.

About this time, though, despite the acclaim, he destroyed many works and disappeared to Italy to find himself again as an artist. He took ‘Montefiore’ as his professional name in homage to two potters he worked with there. A large exhibition of his subsequent work, which now included many ancient and archaeological influences, was given at the Café Royal, London in 1972 and a still more important exhibition at the Palazzo della Permanente, Milan in 1974. Wildensteins in New York also sold his work.

Montefiore moved back to Italy in the 1970s and continues to exhibit there. His work underwent another dramatic shift in the 1980s. He turned to a wider variety of media – he is currently working on stained glass, metals and ceramics as well as painting – and shifted entirely to representational art. The main motive behind this was religious and he now mainly concentrates on large-scale commissions for Catholic institutions in Peru, Spain and Italy. He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts at Brera, Milan.

Schettini’s work is held by Northwestern College, Orange City in Indiana and California University of Pennsylvania, South Australia House, London and other public collections.


SPENDER, Humphrey

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Humphrey Spender (1910-2005), brother of poet Stephen Spender, was a designer and renowned photographer on Mass Observation as well as an accomplished artist. London-born but based in New Malden in Essex in later years, Spender initially trained as an architect before turning to photography, design and art. He said he hoped that his paintings, many powerful but impressionistic depictions of marshlands and rivers in Essex, “might make people see differently”.

As well as numerous mixed shows, Spender had solo painting exhibitions at the Redfern, Leicester Galleries and New Art Centre in London and at many provincial venues. Tate Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Government Art Collection, British Council and many provincial galleries hold his work.


STURGESS-LIEF, Christopher

Christopher Sturgess-Lief- The Moon of Thoth with Black Hole
ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Chris Sturgess-Lief (1937-2011) 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.