HOUSE, Gordon

Gordon House   British 1932 – 2004

Gordon House, printmaker, painter, typographer, teacher and designer, was born and spent his earliest years in the steel town of Pontardawe, South Wales. Unemployment and the depression of the 1930s led Gordon’s parents to move to Letchworth. After leaving school at 14, he went to study, first, at Luton School of Art. For a while after that, he worked in a hospital, before, with the aid of a scholarship, moving on to St Albans School of Art.
He then worked as an assistant to the ecclesiastical sculptor Theodore Kern. Working on the restoration of sculpture in bombed churches, at a time of limited resources, provided lessons in handling practicalities.
Gordon then joined a small advertising studio in Letchworth and his career as a graphic designer was underway. Between 1952 and 1959, he designed for ICI and, from 1959 and 1961, for the Kynoch Press. He married Jo Hull in 1955. Teaching part time at Central School of Arts, St Albans and Hornsey Schools of Art and Luton College of Technology, House pursued his own artistic career. His first solo show began in 1959 at New Vision Centre Gallery . House exhibited at the ‘Situation British Painting Show’ at RBA Galleries, 1960 in which he had designed the catalogue for the exhibition and ‘New London Situation’ at Marlborough New London Galleries in 1961. By 1961, Gordon had become established among a new generation of artists as an independently minded and adventurous painter and designer. A new generation of dealers quickly recognised the freshness of his designing. A simple, modular graphic layout and the ‘House’ style turned every gallery into an identifiable entity; an easy-to-read typeface made his graphics light in feel and popular with dealers, artists and public alike.
As the 1960s moved on, Gordon designed for the pop world. He worked for the Beatles, designing their White album and the back of the Sergeant Pepper album, for which his long-time friend Peter Blake designed the front. Later, he designed Wings’ first album. He delighted in the creative energy of others, and so could respond to the talents of musicians and artists alike.

By the 1980s, Wales had become his constant subject matter. The surface, texture and colour of his paintings softened.
His canvasses reduced in size, becoming palm-of-the-hand landscapes. He spent much time in Wales in his final years through memories of collieries, valleys, smoking stacks, rows of cottages.
In 1993, his work was selected for ‘The Sixties Art Scene in London’ at the Barbican Art Gallery in 1993. His work can be found in many large collections such as the Arts Council, British Council, Victorian and Albert Museum and many others.

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HOUSE, Gordon
‘Strand Green’ by Gordon House

HOUSE, Gordon
Gordon House ‘Series Tri F’