1915 Born in Fife, Scotland
1932 Started studying at Edinburgh College of Art
1939 Showed in the first exhibition in Scotland of Surrealist Art
1940 Called up to fight in World War II
1944 Exhibited in Florence
1947 Exhibited in Hamburg
Settled in Paris
1949 Exhibited with CoBrA
Joint exhibition with Jackson Pollock
1950 Moved to Buckinghamshire
1951 Painted the prizewinning 'Autumn Landscape' for the Festival of Britain
1952 Represented Britain at the Sao Paulo Biennial
1953 Exhibited silkscreens at the Redfern Gallery
1954 Joint exhibition with Ivon Hitchens
1957 Joint exhibition with Sandra Blow
1958-64 Appointed curator of Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
1960 Showed the first abstract paintings in the Royal Academy's 'Summer Exhibition'
1962 Works rejected by the Royal Academy's Hanging Committee - F.E. McWilliam resigns in protest
1964 Started teaching at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts
1995 Made a Royal Academician
1997 Dies days before a major retrospective at the Redfern Gallery

Selected solo exhibitions

1944 Galleria Michelangelo, Florence
1947 Junge Kunst, Hamburg
1948 Gimpel Fils, London
Galerie Arc-en-Ciel, Paris
1949 Betty Parsons Gallery, New York (with Jackson Pollock)
1951 Gimpel Fils, London
1954 South London Art Gallery (with Ivon Hitchens)
1957 Saidenberg Gallery, New York (with Sandra Blow)
1962 Towner Art Gallery, and toured to Bolton, Bristol, Bradford, Leicester, Nottingham, Oldham and Portsmouth
1966 Commonwealth Institute Gallery (with Alan Davie)
1969 Bedford House, Belfast, and toured to Londonderry and Glasgow
1976 RBSA Gallery, Birmingham
1982 Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, and toured to The Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (Retrospective)
1987 Redfern Gallery, London 'CoBrA Years 1948–51'
1988 Galerie Marcel Fleiss, Paris 'CoBrAbstractions 1946–49'
1989 Galerie von Loeper, Hamburg
1990 Kunsthandel Leeman, Amsterdam (with Stephen Gilbert)
1995 Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh (with Patrick Heron)
1997 Redfern Gallery, London 'Golden Jubilee Exhibition'
2006 Redfern Gallery 'Paintings from the 1950s'
2011 Redfern Gallery 'Paintings from the 1960s'
2015 Redfern Gallery 'A Centenary Exhibition'
Towner, Eastbourne, and toured to City Art Centre, Edinburgh 'The painter that Britain forgot'

Selected group exhibitions

1948 La Galerie des Deux Iles, Paris, 'Un Groupe Internationale de Peintres Non-figuratifs'
1949 'Artistes Anglais Contemporains' (British Council touring exhibition of France)
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 'Exposition Internationale d’Art Experimental' (CoBrA),
Salon Host, Copenhagen, 'Hostudstillingen' (CoBrA)
1950 Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 'Contemporary British Art'
1951 Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 'Ten Decades: A Review of British Taste 1851–1951'
Gimpel Fils, London, 'British Abstract Art'
'60 Paintings for ’51' (Arts Council Festival of Britain touring exhibition)
1952 Tate Gallery, London, '17 Collectors'
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, 'La Jeune Gravure Contemporaine'
'Five Contemporary British Painters' (British Council touring exhibition of Canada)
Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo, 'First International Art Exhibition'
1953 Redfern Gallery, London, 'Coronation Exhibition of Contemporary British Painting'
'Tio Engelska Malare' (British Council touring exhibition of Sweden)
2nd Sao Paulo Bienal, Brazil
1954 27th Venice Biennale
1956 Tate Gallery, London, 'The Seasons'
'Britisk Kunst 1900–1955' (British Council touring exhibition to Denmark and Norway)
Silberman Galleries, New York, 'Contemporary British Art'
1957 Redfern Gallery, London, 'Metavisual Tachiste Abstract: Painting in England Today'
1958 Tate Gallery, London, 'The Religious Theme'
1959 Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 'The Graven Image'
'Recent Paintings: Seven British Artists' (British Council touring exhibition of Australia)
1961 'Six British Artists' (British Council touring exhibition of East Africa)
1963 San Francisco Museum of Art (and tour of USA), 'British Art Today'
1964 Tate Gallery, London, 'The London Group Jubilee Exhibition 1914–64'
1969 Gimpel Gallery, New York, 'Collectors Choice'
1972 Annely Juda Fine Art, London (toured to Basle and Milan), 'The Non-Objective World 1939–1955'
1977 Royal Academy of Arts, London, 'British Painting 1952–77'
1982 'British Watercolours and Drawings' (British Council touring exhibition of China)
Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris (and toured to Chalon and Rennes), 'CoBrA 1948 – 1951'
1984 Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 'British Art and Design'
1986 The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 'The Modern Spirit in Scottish Painting'
1989 Tate Gallery, London, 'Portrait of the Artist'
SNGMA, Edinburgh, 'Scottish Art since 1900'
1990 British Museum, London
1991 Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, 'Scottish Art in the 20th Century'
1993 Musee d’Art Moderne, Liege, 'CoBrA'
1994 'Out of Print: British Printmaking 1946–1976' (British Council touring exhibition of Europe and USA)
1995 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 'William Gear: Past and Present Friends'
Meir 47, Antwerp, 'CoBrA 1945–1995'
1997 Aberdeen Art Gallery (and toured to Eastbourne, Edinburgh and Ayr), 'William Gear and CoBrA'


Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum
Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA
Arts Council, Southbank Centre, London
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
British Council, London
British Museum, London
City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Cincinatti Art Museum, USA
Government Art Collection, London
Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow
Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
National Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Tate Gallery, London
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel
Towner Gallery, Eastbourne
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester