Albert Irvin

Albert Irvin RA (1922 - 2015) was a prolific British artist, best known for his exuberant, paintings, watercolours, screenprints and gouaches. Born in London his art tends to focus on capturing and exploring 'the experience of being in the world'. He created an extraordinary body of abstract paintings, watercolours and prints. His work became prominent in the reinvigoration of British painting in the 1980s and 90s, and latterly became familiar through wide exhibition and reproduction.

Irvin once described the experience of seeing the American Abstract Expressionists at the Tate Gallery as like a bomb going off. It convinced him that the challenge faced by his generation of artists was to try to paint truths about the world without depicting things; to discover whether it was possible to make paintings about reality without resorting to imitation. Can I make a painting about a human being, about the human spirit, without having to paint noses and feet? he asked.

He moved into abstraction because, like music, it represented pure experience; there was no need for interpretation.

Albert was elected a Royal Academician in 1998 and Irvin was appointed OBE in 2013 for services to the visual arts.

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