Albert Irvin London, United Kingdom, 1922-2015

Albert Irvin OBE RA was a master of many mediums from painting in gouache to watercolours and screenprints all engaging his signature broad expressionistic strokes. Irvin was British, first studying at Northampton School of Art from 1940 to 1941 before stepping away from his career as an artist to serve as a navigator in the RAF during World War II. The war concluded and Irvin enrolled in the Design course at Goldsmiths College in 1946, where he returned in 1962 to teach.
After graduating with a National Diploma, Irvin was torn between abstract and gurative modes of representation; it was not until the mid-1950s that he moved away from leaning on gures and social realism and embraced a more radical approach closer to metaphor and abstraction. Since releasing himself from the canonical shackles which hailed sombre and dark works of art as unique in achieving a sense of gravitas, Irvin was able to use saturated colours to infuse his works with a compelling and forceful voice. Irvin embarked on a period of screenprinting in 1980 with Advanced Graphics London.

Irvin was elected to e London Group in 1955, followed by his rst solo exhibition in 1960 at 57 Gallery, London. He was awarded a Travel Award to America by the Arts Council in 1968, received an Arts Council Major Award in 1975 and a Gulbenkian Award for printmaking in 1983. A major retrospective of Irvin’s work was held at the Serpentine Gallery in 1990 and he continued to exhibit regularly at Gimpel Fils both in London. Made both a Royal Academician in 1998 and appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to the visual arts, Irvin has an affirmed reputation of being one of Britain’s foremost printmakers. His works have been exhibited extensively even after his passing.