Biography

1915 Born in Fife, Scotland
1932-36 Attended Edinburgh College of Art
1937 Awarded a year's travelling scholarship
1939 Showed in the first exhibition in Scotland of Surrealist Art
1940 Called up to fight in World War II
1941 Exhibited in Jerusalem, Florence, Hamburg, Tel Aviv, Siena, Celle, Hanover
1945 Worked as a Monuments Man
1947-50 Settled in Paris
1949 Exhibited with CoBrA; married Charlotte Chertok; had their son, David; joint exhibition with Jackson Pollock
1950 Met William Scott in Brittany; moved to Buckinghamshire for six months; painted 'Autumn Landscape'
1951 Second son, Robert, born; Arts Council bought 'Autumn Landscape' from the Festival of Britain
1952 Represented Britain at the Sao Paulo Biennial
1953 Exhibited silkscreens at the Redfern Gallery; moved to Kent; elected member of the London Group
1954 São Paulo Bienale (with others); retrospective at the South London Gallery with Hitchens
1957 Joint exhibition with Sandra Blow at Saidenberg Gallery, New York
1958-64 Appointed curator of Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
1960 Elected Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters; showed the first abstract paintings in the Royal Academy's 'Summer Exhibition'
1961 Tate purchased 'Interior' and 'Figure in a Landscape'
1964 Made Head of Fine Arts at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts
1966 Elected Honorary Member of Royal Birmingham Society of Artists; guest lecturer at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and the University of Western Australia, Perth
1967 Received David Cargill Award from the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts
1975 Awarded Lorne Fellowship; retired from teaching
1976-1997 Various retrospective exhibitions (as well as those of the CoBrA group)
1994 Awarded Honorary Doctorate by University of Central England, and Sir Herbert Baker Scholarship by the Royal Academy
1995 Made a Senior Royal Academician
1997 Received the Leporello prize; dies days before a major retrospective at the Redfern Gallery

Selected Solo and Joint 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, Eastbourne (touring retrospective)
1966 Commonwealth Institute Gallery (with Alan Davie)
1969 Bedford House, Belfast (touring retrospective)
1976 RBSA Gallery, Birmingham (retrospective 1947-76)
1982 Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (Retrospective)
1987 Redfern Gallery, London 'CoBrA Years 1948–51'
1988 Galerie Marcel Fleiss, Paris 'CoBrA Abstractions 1946–49'
Galerie Karl & Faber, Munich 'Works from the Artist's Studio'
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'
2003/04 Redfern Gallery, London 'William Gear 1915-1997' (retrospective)
2006 Redfern Gallery, London 'Paintings from the 1950s'
2011 Redfern Gallery, London 'Paintings from the 1960s'
2015 Redfern Gallery, London 'A Centenary Exhibition'
Towner, Eastbourne, and toured to City Art Centre, Edinburgh 'The painter that Britain forgot'

Selected group exhibitions

1934 Royal Scottish Academy (also with the Society of Scottish Artists)
1939 Gladstone's Land Gallery, Edinburgh 'Inaugural Exhibition' (with the New Era Group)
1941 Cabinet of Arts, Jerusalem
1943 Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv
1946 Bund Bilender Künstler, Herrenhausen Orangerie, Hanover 'Kunst Ausstellung'
1948 La Galerie des Deux Iles, Paris 'Un Groupe International de Peintres Non-figuratifs'
Galerie Egon Gunther, Mannheim '4 Maler aus Paris'
1949 'Artistes Anglais Contemporains' (British Council touring exhibition of France)
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 'Exposition Internationale d’Art Experimental' (CoBrA),
Salon Höst, Copenhagen 'Høstudstillingen' (CoBrA)
1950 I.C.A., London 'Contemporary British Art'
1951 I.C.A., 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' (Contemporary Art Society)
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris 'La Jeune Gravure Contemporaine'
'Artists International Association Touring Exhibition' (South Australia)
'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 Paintings'
'Tio Engelska Målare' (British Council touring exhibition of Sweden)
'The Mirror and the Square' (Artist's International Association touring exhibition)
2nd São Paulo Bienal, Brazil (British Council)
1954 27th Venice Biennale
Guildhall Art Gallery, London 'Trends in British Art 1900-1954'
1955 I.C.A., London '10 Years of English Landscape Painting'
Alteneo de Valencia, Venezuela 'Exposicion Internacionale de Pintura'
1956 Tate Gallery, London 'The Seasons' (Contemporary Art Society)
'Britisk Kunst 1900–1955' (British Council touring exhibition to Denmark and Norway)
Silberman Galleries, New York 'Contemporary British Art'
I.C.A., London 'Ten Years of English Landscape Painting, 1945-55' (selected by Andrew Forge)
1957 Redfern Gallery, London 'Metavisual Tachiste Abstract: Painting in England Today'
1958 Tate Gallery, London 'The Religious Theme' (Contemporary Art Society)
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)
1962 Kursaal, Ostend 'Prix Europe de Peinture'
1963 San Francisco Museum of Art 'British Art Today' (touring USA)
1964 Tate Gallery, London 'London Group Jubilee Exhibition 1914–64'
1968 'Three Centuries of Scottish Painting' (National Gallery of Canada touring exhibition)
1969 Gimpel Gallery, New York 'Collectors Choice'
1972 Annely Juda Fine Art, London 'The Non-Objective World 1939–1955' (toured to Basel and Milan),
1977 Royal Academy of Arts, London 'British Painting 1952–77'
1979 Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester 'British Drawings since 1945'
1982 'British Watercolours and Drawings' (British Council touring exhibition of China)
Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris 'CoBrA 1948 – 1951' (touring to Chalon and Rennes)
1984 V&A Museum, London 'British Art and Design'
1986 The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 'The Modern Spirit in Scottish Painting'
Konsthall, Malmö 'Cobra' (and in various other locations in the years 1986-2003)
1988 Austin/Desmond Gallery, London 'Post-War British Abstract Art'
1989 Tate Gallery, London 'Portrait of the Artist'
SNGMA, Edinburgh 'Scottish Art since 1900'
1990 British Museum, London 'Avant-Garde British Printmaking 1914-60'
Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow 'The 20th-Century Scottish Print'
1991 Royal West of England Academy, Bristol 'Scottish Art in the 20th Century'
1993 Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh 'The Line of Tradition'
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'
1997 Aberdeen Art Gallery 'William Gear and CoBrA', (touring to Eastbourne, Edinburgh and Ayr)
2002 Barbican Art Galleries, London 'Transition - The London Art Scene in the Fifties' (curated by Martin Harrison)
2003 'Cobra' (National Touring Exhibition organised by the Hayward Gallery for the Arts Council of England)

Publications

Sylvester, D., 'William Gear', London: Gimpel Fils, 1948
Read, H., 'Contemporary British Art', London: Penguin, 1951
James, P., 'William Gear Retrospective', London: Gimpel Fils, 1961
Barlow, P., 'William Gear Paintings 1948-1968', Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council, 1969
MacMillan, D., 'William Gear, Edinburgh: Talbot Rice Art Centre, 1982
Jaguer, E., 'Gear, Peintre Cobrabstrait', Paris: Galerie 1900-2000 Marcel Fleiss, 1988
Lambert, J., 'Les Champs Labyrinthiens de William Gear', Paris: Galerie 1900-2000 Marcel Fleiss, 1988
Götz, K.O., 'Meine Begegnung mit William Gear', Munich: Karl & Faber, 1988
Wilson, S., 'Cosmopolitan Patternings' London: Redfern Gallery, 1990 (William Gear: 75th Birthday Exhibition)
Shield, P., and Gear, D., 'William Gear and Cobra' Aberdeen: Aberdeen Art Gallery, 1997
McEwen, J., 'Wiliam Gear' Aldershot: Lund Humphries, 2003
Harrison, M., 'William Gear: Paintings from the 1950s', London: Redfern Gallery, 2006 (ex. cat.)
Lambirth, A., 'William Gear, 1915-1997: Paintings from the 1960s', London: Redfern Gallery, 2011 (ex. cat.)
Lambirth, A., 'William Gear: A Centenary Exhibition', London: Redfern Gallery, 2015 (ex. cat.)
Lambirth, A., 'William Gear', Bristol: Sansom & Company, 2015

Collections

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

William Gear RA

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