John Minton: A Centenary
[ Exhibition )
Who was the real John Minton?
A celebration of the artist, traveller and hedonist John Minton in the centenary of his birth.
A bohemian figure in London during the 1940s and 50s, John Minton is best known as a leading post-war illustrator and influential tutor who taught numerous artists including Peter Blake, Frank Auerbach, Bridget Riley and Joe Tilson. However, he was also a remarkable draughtsman, sensitive portraitist and ambitious figurative painter.
A hedonist who could often be found in the drinking clubs of Soho, Minton was plagued by melancholy. His complex character was reflected in his poignant artworks, which convey the uncertainties of the times in which they were created.
This exhibition explored the full scope of his artistic achievement, from his early Neo-Romantic wartime landscapes to his sun-drenched depictions of the Mediterranead and Caribbean; sensitive portraits and figure studies of young men, reflecting Minton’s experience as a leading gay artist of the time; striking illustrations for posters and books including Elizabeth David’s famous Mediterranean cookery titles; and ambitious paintings exploring historic and current events, created as Minton grappled with an increasingly abstract art world before his tragic suicide, aged just 39.
The first major exhibition of Minton’s work in over 20 years, it featured over 70 works lent by public and private collections. A recently rediscovered painting ‘Jamaican Village’ was exhibited for the first time in many years.
There is no more revealing human personality than the visual artist. For a man will paint only of himself and of the things he knows, loves, hates, desires.
Discover our collection of John Minton's works
John Minton, Portrait of David Tindle as a Boy, c.1954
John Minton, Portrait of David Tindle as a Boy, 1952 (circa), Oil on canvas, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Hussey Bequest, Chichester District Council, 1985) © Royal College of Art
John Minton, Landscape Near Kingston, Jamaica, 1950
John Minton, Landscape Near Kingston, Jamaica, 1950, Oil on canvas, Pallant House Gallery (Hussey Bequest, Chichester District Council, 1985) © Royal College of Art
What the press said
Minton may have spent much of his life in despair, but the abiding impression of this delightful exhibition is of joie de vivre.
Mark Hudson, The Daily Telegraph
John Minton was an artist with a fierce lust for life, as this fine show reveals.
Laura Cumming, The Observer
A fascinating exhibition. Eye-opening.
Richard Cork, Financial Times
This exhibition was made possible by a number of generous organisations and individuals
Want to know more?
If you’re conducting research into this artist or any other aspect of British Modern art, please contact Sarah Norris, Collections Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org.