John Minton, Jamaican Village (detail), 1951, Oil on canvas, private collection Photograph © 2016 Christie's Images Limited/ Bridgeman Images © Royal College of Art
A major exhibition marking the centenary of the birth of British artist John Minton (1917 – 1957). A charismatic and complex artist, Minton was a Bohemian figure in London during the 1940s and 50s and a close friend of artists and writers including Michael Ayrton, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, Lucian Freud, W.S. Graham and Keith Vaughan. Himself influenced by artists such as Samuel Palmer and Graham Sutherland, as a tutor at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art he was also highly influential to the next generation of figurative artists in Britain.
The exhibition spans Minton’s achievements as a painter of highly evocative landscapes, including his moving depictions of bomb-damaged London; his focus on exotic subject matter during the late 1940s and 1950s inspired by extensive travels to countries such as Corsica, Spain and Jamaica; his remarkable draftsmanship evidenced in figurative work including sensitive portraits of young men, a reference to his own homosexuality; and the ambitious work produced in the late 1950s exploring historical and current events such as the death of Nelson, examined in the context of the genre of history painting, and contemporary photography.
The exhibition is curated by Simon Martin, Artistic Director at Pallant House Gallery, and Frances Spalding, art historian and biographer of Minton.