This is the first book on British abstract painter Adrian Heath (1920-1992), who was a member of the Constructivist circle and a pioneer of abstraction in Britain in the post-war period.
Adrian Heath was born in Burma and studied art under Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn before attending the Slade School of Fine Art in 1939. In a German prison camp during the Second World War he was an active escapee and gave lessons in oil-painting to Terry Frost, who became his lifelong friend and described him as 'the bravest man I ever knew'. He returned to the Slade after the war and became a pivotal member of the circle of abstract artists around Victor Pasmore in the late 1940s, which included Mary and Kenneth Martin and Anthony Hill. The three exhibitions of art and design held in Heath's Fitzroy Street studio in 1952/3 have become legendary in the history of post-war British modernism, and he is an important link between the abstract painters of St Ives and their Constructivist London counterparts. His house and studio in Charlotte Street are celebrated as convivial meeting places for discusssion between artists of all persuasions.
Jane Rye paints a rounded portrait of Adrian Heath's life and career, alongside reproductions of a wide selection of work from his entire oeuvre, and gives a clear account of the theories and development of abstract art in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, and of the vital part Heath played in the avant-garde art world of post-war Britain.
Jane Rye is a freelance writer and reviewer and was previously Assistant Editor of the London Magazine, to which she contributed regular articles on art subjects. Her publications include Futurism (Studio Vista, 1972) and a translation from the Italian of a book on Mondrian in Hamlyn's series of Twentieth Century Masters (1970).
Contents: Acknowledgements; Introduction. Part 1: An Artistic Education: Childhood; Schooldays; Newlyn: January to August 1939; The Slade: 1939-40; The RAF: 1940-42; Prisoner of War: 1942-45; After the War: 1945-49; France: 1947-48; London: 1948-9. Part 2: 1950s Abstraction: Post-War Abstraction: 1950-56; Exhibitions and Publications; Chairman of the Artists' International Association (AIA); New Developments: The End of the 1950s; Corsham: The Bath Academy of Art. Part 3: 1960s-1980s: 1960s: 'A Painter of Sensuous Effects'; 1970s: Striving for the Mysterious; 1980s: Mixing Oil and Water; Conclusion; Notes; Chronology; Solo Exhibitions; Group Exhibitions; Public Collections; Bibliography; Index.