Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Kenneth Rowntree (1915-1997)   BIOGRAPHY

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Shapes in Movement II, 1958
Framed (ref: 3996)
Oil on two Perspex sheets
54 x 54 cm

 


Provenance: The Artist's Family


Literature: John Milner, Kenneth Rowntree, Lund Humphries, 2002, p. 59, illustrated (pl. 56); Kenneth Rowntree, A Centenary Exhibition, Moore-Gwyn Fine Art and Liss Llewellyn Fine Art, 2015, Cat. 51, p.97

Exhibited: Tyne and Wear Museums, Kenneth Rowntree: paintings, drawings and collages,
December 1976 – January 1977, cat no. 101; Davies Memorial Gallery and Oriel 31, Welshpool, Kenneth Rowntree, June–October 1992, cat no. 43

Rowntree developed sequences of works on a single there permitting the viewer to trace the variants..... Three variations called Shapes in Movement II followed Black Painting.  Their perspec upper surface has another layer below so that changes appear as the viewe rmoves.  Shapes on Blue II finally relinquished the triagle motif, but retained the 'cue' motif.  A final variation was constructred in perspex, a specific response to the demain to use synthetic materials.  Here the variation is almost independent of its theme.  Structurally close to Pasmore's work, its wit is wholly Rowntree's.  This was an intellectual and creative dialogue more radical than the Royal College provided.  It was a game Rowntree played his own way, adding an edge of irony that delighted him.
 John Milner, Kenneth Rowntree, Lund Humphries, 2002, p.59



Kenneth Rowntree (1915-1997)

Painter, illustrator, artist in collage and murals, draughtsman and teacher, born in Scarborough, Yorkshire. He studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford, under Albert Rutherston, 1934–35, and at the Slade under Randolph Schwabe. During World War II he participated in the Pilgrim Trust Recording Britain project and was an Official War Artist. He had his first one-man exhibition at Leicester Galleries in 1946; other one-man shows followed at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Zwemmer Gallery, New Art Centre, and the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with a retrospective at Hatton Gallery there in 1980. In 1949 he became a tutor at RCA, a post he held until 1958. In 1959 he became Professor of Fine Arts, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, succeeding Lawrence Gowing; he held the position until 1980. In 1992 a touring retrospective was organinsed, starting in Newtown. Group shows included NEAC, AIA and RSW. He became a member of the Society of Mural Painters in 1943, taught mural painting at the Royal College of Art for 10 years from 1948, and received a Ford Foundation Grant to visit America in 1959. In 1948 he illustrated A Prospect of Wales. Murals completed include those for Barclay School, Stevenage, 1946, RMS Orsova and Iberia, 1954, and the British Pavilion at Brussels International Exhibition in 1958. In 1951 he painted murals for the Lion and Unicorn Pavilion at the Festival of Britain. Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum and WAC are among many public owners of his work. Rowntree’s pictures reflect the genial and witty nature of the artist, usually being landscapes and townscapes in which the elements have a toy-like neatness and familiar notations are employed. In the post-war years he also painted a considerable number of abstract (and semi-abstract) works. His work is sometimes signed with just his initials. He lived at Corbridge, Northumberland.

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