John Hoyland RA   British 1934-2011

John Hoyland, painter, print maker, curator and teacher. He was born in Sheffield and attended the  Sheffield College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools, London. He began exhibiting with some of the best British artists of the day in the ‘Situation’, an exhibition show of “large abstract paintings” organised by the artists themselves with a little help from the critic Lawrence Alloway.

Hoyland was the youngest artist in the show, and his career followed a trajectory over the course of the decade. After showing in the follow-up exhibition, New London Situation, in 1961, he was taken on by Marlborough, at that time the most prestigious commercial gallery in London. In March 1964, Hoyland was featured in Bryan Robertson’s  New Generation showcase of young painters at Whitechapel Art Gallery, including Patrick Caulfield, David Hockney, Paul Huxley, Alan Jones and Bridget Riley. Shortly after he embarked on a series of huge acrylic canvases of high-key deep greens, reds, violets and oranges deployed in radiant fields, stark blocks and shimmering columns of ultra-vibrant colour. Visiting the studio in late 1965, Robertson immediately proposed a full-scale exhibition at the Whitechapel. His one-man exhibition at that gallery in the spring of 1967 was a defining moment in the history of British abstract painting. It consolidated Hoyland’s reputation, and established him without question as one of the two or three best abstract painters of his generation anywhere in the world.

Hoyland went to live and work in the United States in the late 1960s, and he was welcomed into the company of New York artists and critics including Clement Greenberg, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman and Kenneth Noland. In 1973 Hoyland returned to England. In 1979, he selected the Hayward Annual, an exhibition that remains a landmark in the history of British abstract painting. In 1988, he curated an important exhibition at the Tate Gallery of late paintings by Hofmann. He was elected Royal Academician in 1991, appointed Professor of the Royal Academy Schools in 1999. In 2006, Tate St Ives held the exhibition John Hoyland: The Trajectory of a Fallen Angel, bringing together paintings from 1966 to 2003.  He was His work appears in public and private collections worldwide.

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