Join OCA tutor Jim Cowan on the 16 September in Chichester.
More people know the work of John Minton than they realise. He was a painter and illustrator, often categorised as a neo-romantic, who was at his most influential in the 1940s and 1950s. The illustrations that brought his name to a wide audience were those done for Elizabeth David’s ‘A book of Mediterranean Food and ‘French Country Cooking’ two volumes that were highly influential in changing British culinary tastes, with Minton’s illustrations playing an important part in their popularity.
The Pallant House Gallery in Chichester is one of a number of galleries that champion neglected English artists. A roll call would include David Jones, Edward Burra, Christopher Wood, Leon Underwood and many more. For artists fashion can be both fickle and fleeting. What was once popular very soon becomes old hat and qualities once thought highly of are soon replaced with something new.
The neo-romanticism adopted by artists in wartime Britain, such as Graham Sutherland and John Piper, was soon replaced by a more austere post-war realism with John Minton’s personality and charisma enlivening the scene. He was an influential and popular tutor, a prolific illustrator, a painter of exotic landscapes and portraits and this centenary exhibition revisits his work and explores his reputation and achievements.
Drawing was central to his practice and Minton’s fluent draughtsmanship served him well as an artist. His subject matter encompassed the docklands of London to the more exotic landscapes of Corsica, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
His star was in the ascendency until the arrival of Abstract Expressionism into post-war Britain made his figurative compositions unfashionable. Minton’s subsequent loss of confidence and his struggles with personal demons helped contribute to his early death at the age of 39.
Students coming on this study visit will see the work of an artist whose popularity was a result of a romantic decorative sensibility that served to bring light into a grim post-war Britain.
Also on view at the Pallant House Gallery will be paintings and drawings by the influential teacher William Coldstream, a display of British neo-romantic art and of course the excellent permanent collection.
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