PETER LANYON
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BRITISH 1918 – 1964

born on the 8th February 1918 in St. Ives, Cornwall, the only son of Herbert Lanyon, a semi-professional musician and photographerFollowing a private education at Clifton College near Bristol, Lanyon enrolled at Penzance School of Art in 1936In 1937 he met Adrian Stokes, whose writing and aesthetic theories dramatically affected his workAfter a trip with his mother and sister to South Africa in 1938 and a period of depression,

Lanyon enrolled at the Euston Road School in London in May 1939, as advised by StokesThough he stayed for no more than two months, his principal teachers being William Coldstream and Victor Pasmore, he believed the experience was ‘exceedingly good training’Having returned to Cornwall, Lanyon noted the disintegration of his painting in July/August, but was once more aided by Stokes who suggested he take lessons with Ben Nicholson, which began in September 1939Receiving direction in formal aspects of abstract composition from a leading figure of British Modernism led Lanyon into experiments with reliefs and constructions, such as his White Track and Box Construction No. 1Throughout the 1940s the influence of Nicholson, as well as Naum Gabo and to a lesser extent Barbara Hepworth, was visible in his work.

Lanyon enlisted at the age of twenty and served in the Royal Air Force in North Africa, Palestine and ItalyIn 1946 he married Shelia St. John Browne and they had six children between 1947 and 1957. After World War II Lanyon was actively involved with the Crypt group and was a founder member of the Penwith School of Art in 1949Lanyon had his first one-man exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1950 and began teaching at the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, until 1957. From 1957-60 he ran an art school, St Peter’s Loft at St. Ives with Terry Frost and William Redgrave.

In 1957 he visited New York for a one-men exhibition at the Catherine Viviano Gallery, where he met Mark Rothko and Robert MotherwellLanyon had his first one-man exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1950 and began teaching at the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, until 1957. From 1957-60 he ran an art school, St Peter’s Loft at St. Ives with Terry Frost and William Redgrave. In 1957 he visited New York for a one-men exhibition at the Catherine Viviano Gallery, where he met Mark Rothko and Robert MotherwellLanyon began gliding in 1959 which had a great impact on his painting and print-making.

He died in Taunton on 31st August 1964 as a result of injuries he received in a gliding accident

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