Victor Pasmore

British , 1908 - 1998

Victor Pasmore was born in Chelsam, Surrey in 1908. He attended evening classes at the Central School under A.S. Hartrick from 1927 to 1931. In 1932 the London Artists’ Association sponsored Pasmore’s his first exhibition at the Cooling Gallery in 1933, through which he met William Coldstream and Claude Rogers. He exhibited at the London Group from 1930, becoming a member in 1934 and at the Objective Abstraction Exhibition at Zwemmer Gallery in 1934. In 1937 he was a founder, with Coldstream and Rogers, of the Euston Road School. In 1940, Pasmore married Wendy Lloyd Blood.

During the late 1940s, he turned to abstraction and in 1950 he visited St. Ives where he was encouraged by Nicholson. In the early 1950s Pasmore was associated with the constructivist group that included Hill, Adams, Heath and Martins. He organized exhibitions of abstract art with his colleagues at the AIA Gallery, the Redfern Gallery and Gimpel Fils. Influenced by Biederman, Pasmore began constructing reliefs.

He exhibited regularly in leading London galleries, including the Redfern from 1940 to 1955 and the Marlborough Gallery from 1961. Retrospective exhibitions were held at the Tate Gallery in 1965 and 1980. His work has been represented in numerous exhibitions including the 1960 Venice Biennale and is in many public collections. He taught at the Camberwell School of Art from 1943 to 1949 and at the Central School from 1949 to 1954. From 1954 to 1961 he was a master of painting in the Department of Fine Arts at Durham University and he pioneered the abstraction foundation course, “The Developing Process”. A Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1963 to 1966, Pasmore’s many awards include a CBE in 1959 and the Companion of Honour in 1981.

Pasmore was appointed Director of Painting at the University of Newcastle in 1954. Following this appointment, he began a project that was to last over 20 years designing the layout and architecture of the new town of Peterlee. He moved to Malta in 1966 and began an intensive experimentation with printmaking at the 2RC printshop in Rome. Pasmore worked with Curwen Press, Kelpra Studio and White Ink, among other print studios. In the years following his death, the popularity of his prints has grown immensely and his earliest work has become quite scarce.

His early painting was influenced by Fauvism but this gave way to the realist Euston Road style influenced by Sickert and Degas. In the 1940s he worked on a series of Thames and London scenes which sprang from a study of Whistler and Turner and which heralded his absraction work. This evolved from paintings of spiral forms to constructed reliefs. His later painting combines abstraction with references to natural forms. All his work reflects his interest in Japanese art.
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