John Piper (1903–1992) was an important and distinctive figure in modern British art in a long career that spanned seven decades, from the 1920s through to the 1980s. Throughout this time he was constantly evolving and changing and refining the nature of his style, and the trajectory he followed was a singular and interesting one.
We are delighted to present an exhibition of Piper’s work that brings together paintings and watercolours from all periods of his career, and that includes an abstract and a figurative painting from the 1930s, a group of works made during the war, highly inventive and resourceful landscapes from after and some very fine examples of Piper’s skill as a printmaker with a set of hand-coloured Brighton aquatints and his nursery prints. We are most grateful to the leading Piper scholar David Fraser Jenkins who has written the stimulating essay in this catalogue. David has curated the major appraisals of Piper’s art: the lifetime retrospective exhibition held at the Tate Gallery in 1983; the exhibitions devoted to Piper’s work of the 1930s and 1940s held at the Imperial War Museum and Dulwich Picture Gallery respectively; and most recently the beautiful selection of Piper’s Snowdonia landscapes exhibited at the National Museum of Wales.
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