John Hoyland was one of Britain's leading abstract painters, renowned for his bold use of color and inventive forms. He spent significant time in New York and nurtured friendships with Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko. It was at this time that Hoyland first encountered the work of European-born Hans Hofmann, who encouraged Hoyland to move at the end of the 1960's towards a more richly allusive non-figuration.
John Hoyland explored many forms of printmaking, including lithographs, screenprints, aquatints and woodblocks. In the 1960s his prints mirrored the powerful architectural images of his paintings on canvas. From the late 1970s he began to view printmaking as a more fully independent activity, and adopted a more improvised and experimental attitude to the process. Hoyland worked with many print studios including Wolfensberger in Zurich, Grafica Uno in Milan, Atelier Lacouriere et Frelaut, Paris, Curwen Chilford, Cambridge; and in London, Kelpra Studios, Advanced Graphics and Coriander Studios.
Hoyland has had major solo exhibitions and retrospectives at the Whitechapel Gallery (1967), The Serpentine Gallery (1979), the Royal Academy of Arts, London (1999) and Tate St Ives (2006). In 1969 he represented Great Britain alongside sculptor Anthony Caro at the São Paulo Biennale, Brazil. He won the prestigious John Moores Prize in 1982 and was elected a Royal Academician in 1991.