Tag Archives: abstract art

Albert Irvin – His pictures expressed his joy of life and art

Albert Irvin is best known for his large abstract paintings full of colour.

Born in Finsbury Park, North London in 1922  to a shopkeeper, Irvin had a normal childhood.  At school he developed an interest in art and his other passion, football.  He was an avid supporter of Arsenal FC throughout his life.

When war was declared with Germany in 1939, the young Albert Irvin was evacuated to Northamptonshire,  a safer place for a young boy than London.  It was here that he studied art at the Northampton School of Art between 1940 and 1941.  Conscription interrupted his time at art school.  He joined the Royal Air Force and trained in Canada as a navigator.  Flying bombing missions over Germany with 236 Squadron from 1944 until the end of the war.

Albert Irvin-Festival
Albert Irvin – Festival

When hostilities had ceased and he was demobbed, he continued his art studies back in London at the Goldsmiths College.

Albert Irving was never an overnight success

Albert Irvin certainly didn’t become an overnight success.  Like most artists he had to turn his hand to other things to bring in some income.  By this time he was married and his wife supported him by doing graphic design work.  Irvin took on screenprinting Laura Ashley’s first fabric designs and became a tutor at  the Hornsey College of Art.

As an abstract painter, it was difficult to break through and become known.  It wasn’t until he was 38 years of age that he had his first solo show and it wasn’t until he was in his 60’s that he found a following and people began to recognise and collect his work.  He joked that he was “the oldest up and coming young artist in Britain”

When people began collecting his work, his career took off.  In the 1970’s he moved from painting in oils to the more vibrant acrylics.  In the 1980’s Irvin moved into screenprinting in association with Advanced Graphics in London.  This association proved so rewarding that he won an Arts Council award in 1975 and  the Gulbenkian award for printmaking in 1983.

Continue reading Albert Irvin – His pictures expressed his joy of life and art

What is Art?

What constitutes Art and what does not

What constitutes art is a very emotive question and one that has caused debate for many years.

This is one definition that comes from “The Art of the Renaissance”

“The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”.

Do you agree with that description?

I would say that the majority would, but there are many who would disagree and would argue that “art” is more than that.  Anything that is created could be described as a work of art.

How many times have I heard someone looking at an abstract painting and remark that their kid could do that, the reality, of course, is that their kid couldn’t because there is more to abstract painting than just slapping paint on a canvas in a haphazard fashion. Continue reading What is Art?