John Craxton (1922 − 2009)

Craxton was born in London, the son of the composer Harold Craxton. Considered a prodigy as a youngster (he held his first public exhibition at the age of ten), he studied in Paris until the outbreak of war, when he returned to London and attended both the Central School of Art and Goldsmiths. He became friendly with Peter Watson, an influential patron of the arts and subsequently a co-founder of the ICA. Watson introduced him to Lucian Freud and in the mid 1940s Craxton became identified with 'neo-romanticism', a wartime tendency involving a heightened and rather graphic response to the English landscape. In 1943, he toured Pembrokeshire with Graham Sutherland , who was then working as an official war artist recording the war effort in the mines of Cornwall and Wales. After the war, Craxton travelled extensively in Europe, visiting Greece in 1946 with Lucian Freud with whom he held a joint exhibition at the London Gallery the following year. Known throughout his life as a neo-Romantic, Craxton himself preferred to be known as an 'Arcadian', a nod perhaps to the rather bucolic dreamworld he inhabited, and which peoples his work. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Whitechapel in 1967.

www.royalacademy.org.uk

Glossary

  • Landscape

    Landscape is one of the principle genres of Western art. In early paintings the landscape was a backdrop for the composition, but in the late 17th Century the appreciation of nature for its own sake began with the French and Dutch painters (from whom the term derived). Their treatment of the landscape differed: the French tried to evoke the classical landscape of ancient Greece and Rome in a highly stylised and artificial manner; the Dutch tried to paint the surrounding fields, woods and plains in a more realistic way. As a genre, landscape grew increasing popular, and by the 19th Century had moved away from a classical rendition to a more realistic view of the natural world. Two of the greatest British landscape artists of that time were John Constable and JMW Turner, whose works can be seen in the Tate collection (www.tate.org.uk). There can be no doubt that the evolution of landscape painting played a decisive role in the development of Modernism, culminating in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists . Since then its demise has often been predicted and with the rise of abstraction, landscape painting was thought to have degenerated into an amateur pursuit. However, landscape persisted in some form into high abstraction, and has been a recurrent a theme in most of the significant tendencies of the 20th Century. Now manifest in many media, landscape no longer addresses solely the depiction of topography, but encompasses issues of social, environmental and political concern.

Exhibition map

Current & upcoming exhibitions

A WORLD OF PRIVATE MYSTERY: JOHN CRAXTON, RA (1922-2009)

  • 2013
    • UK, Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum

Past exhibitions

MY CHOICE WORKS SELECTED BY PAULA REGO FROM THE BRITISH COUNCIL COLLECTION

  • 2011
    • Portugal, Coimbra, Univesidade de Coimbra, Casa de Caldeiras
    • Portugal, Edp Foundation
    • Portugal, Cascais, Casa Das Historias

THE LAST GRAND TOUR

  • 2011
    • Greece, Athens, Cycladic Museum

THRESHOLDS

  • 2012
    • Macedonia, Skopje, Museum Of Contemporary Art
    • Malta, Valletta, St James Cavalier Centre For Creativity
  • 2010
    • UK, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery

FROM DESTRUCTION TO ABSTRACTION BRITISH ART IN THE 1940S AND 1950S

  • 2008
    • Syria, Damascus, University Of Damascus

WEU PRESIDENCY EXHIBITIONS

  • 1995
    • Belgium, Brussels, Western European Union

JOHN CRAXTON

  • 1966
    • UK, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery

CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PAINTING 1900-1962

  • 1964
    • Romania, Palace Of Culture
    • Romania, Bucharest, National Gallery
    • Slovakia, Bratislava, Mirbach Palace & Palffy Palace
    • Czechoslovakia, Prague, ULUV Exhibition Hall
  • 1963
    • Hungary, Budapest, Ernst Museum

JELENKORI BRIT FESTESZET

  • 1963
    • Hungary, Budapest, Ernst Museum

CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PAINTING

  • 1959
    • Mauritius, Mauritius
  • 1958
    • South Africa, Port Elizabeth, King George VI Art Gallery
    • Dar Es Salaam
    • Rhodesia, Ndola
    • Uganda, Kampala, British Council Office - Kampala
  • 1957
    • Kenya, Mombassa, Mombassa
    • Kenya, Nairobi, National Gallery And Museum
    • Zanzibar
    • Blantyre-Limbe
    • Moshi

YOUNG BRITISH PAINTERS

  • 1955
    • UK, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum

CORONATION EXHIBITION

  • 1953
    • UK, Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery

INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION

  • 1952
    • Japan, Sapporo, Marui Gallery
    • Japan, Kyoto, Metropolitan Art Gallery
    • Japan, Fukuoka, Itwataya Gallery
    • Japan, Osaka, Juuge Gallery
    • Japan, Nagoya, Matsuzakaya Gallery
    • Japan, Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Gallery

1951 SAO PAULO BIENAL

  • 1951
    • Brazil, Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Bienal

CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PAINTING AND SCULPTURE 1925-1950

  • 1950
    • USA, Pennsylvania, Academy Of Fine Arts

SALON DE MAI

  • 1949
    • France, Paris, British Council Office - Paris

12 BRITISH PAINTERS

  • 1949
    • Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Musee De L'etat
    • Netherlands, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum
    • Germany, Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle
  • 1948
    • Germany, Dusseldorf, Kunstammlungen Der Stadt
    • Belgium, Brussels, Palais Des Beaux-Arts De Bruxelles

INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION

  • 1982
    • Italy, Venice, British Council Office - Venice
  • 1949
    • Canada, British Council Office - Toronto
  • 1947
    • Egypt, Cairo, British Council Office - Cairo
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