John Piper

Piper made his first prints in the '30s, starting his own company to publish them, and continued to make prints for over sixty years - working in etching, lithography and, from the 1970s, screenprint. Towards the end of his life, when he was travelling less, his work focussed on his house and garden at Fawley Bottom in Oxfordshire, where he lived with his wife, Myfanwy, for over fifty years.
John Piper was one of the most important artists of the 20th century in Britain. Although he was a major painter and printmaker, he will be remembered for his contribution across a broad spread of the arts – from his designs for the theatre, his work as a photographer who, with Betjamin, produced many of the Shell Guides, his writing and as a designer of stained glass and a  ceramicist.
Born in 1903, Piper spent a rather unwilling period in his father’s law firm
before going to the Kingston and Richmond Schools of Art, and then to the
Royal College and the Slade.
In the early ‘30s he was an active member of the British abstract movement
and became the secretary of the 7 & 5 Society – led by Nicholson and
Hepworth. A visit to Paris in 1933 where he met Braque, Brancusi and Helion strengthened his beliefs in abstraction.
By the late ‘30s his views had changed and he moved away from abstraction, reverting to his early love of landscape and architecture, and developing the romantic style for which he is best known. As a war artist, Piper’s paintings of bomb-devastated buildings won high praise.
After the war he consolidated his career, with his first solo exhibition in New
York in 1948 with Curt Valentin Gallery and joining Marlborough Fine Art
in 1963. The Tate Gallery held a retrospective celebrating all aspects of his
work in 1984. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1972.


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