Recommended by The Guardian Guide, The Telegraph, The Independent and The Financial Times
A major retrospective of Albert Irvin, and a 60th anniversary celebration of the seminal exhibition, The New American Painting.
Albert Irvin OBE RA RWA Hon (1922-2015) was one of Britain’s most important post-war painters and printmakers. He is best known for his large-scale abstract colourist paintings - some of the most distinctive to have ever been produced in this country.
In 1959, Irvin visited an exhibition called The New American Painting at Tate, curated by MOMA New York and toured to eight European cities. It brought the boldest and best new artistic talent from across the Atlantic to London. The exhibition redefined what was possible for a generation of British artists.
For Irvin, it was an epiphany.
Albert Irvin and Abstract Expressionism will bring together works by Irvin and the major abstract expressionist artists that inspired him, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Sam Francis and Adolph Gottlieb from UK collections and works by Grace Hartigan and Jack Tworkov on loan from the USA, giving a unique chance to see so many of these important artists’ works in this country.
These will be shown alongside other leading British abstract artists, such as Peter Lanyon, Basil Beattie, Gillian Ayres, John Hoyland and Sandra Blow.
The show will also chart Irvin’s earlier practice in a room featuring the British ‘Kitchen Sink’ artists including Edward Middleditch, John Bratby and Peter Coker.
In his opening speech, Sir Nicholas Serota (Chair, Arts Council) described the exhibition as ambitious and beautifully curated, and visitors say it is “simply wonderful”, “inspiring”, “uplifting” and “a guaranteed mood changer”.
The exhibition is accompanied by a stunning accompanying publication, featuring an introductory essay by Mel Gooding and an interview with Irvin’s friend and fellow painter Basil Beattie, along with text by the exhibition’s curator, Stewart Geddes PRWA, and illustrations of most of the works on show. Published by Sansom & Co, it is available from the RWA shop, RRP £17.50 special exhibition price of £15.
Presented in association with the University of Gloucestershire, School of Art and Design
Last admission 30 minutes before closing. The RWA occasionally closes early for special events. Please call ahead or check the website for details.
Adults: £7.95 (includes a 80p donation)
Concessions: £6.75 (includes a 70p donation)
Under 18s/SGS, UoB & UWE students: FREE
National Art Pass holders: 50% discount on ticket price