Graham Sutherland (British, 1903–1980) was a painter known for his surrealistic landscapes, still lifes, figurative works, and portraits. Born in London, Sutherland attended Epsom College and Goldsmith’s College School of Art, with a particular focus on printmaking, which he taught later taught at the Chelsea School of Art. Early on, his etchings and engravings displayed the influence of Romantic painter Samuel Palmer, as well as William Blake, Paul Nash, Henry Moore, and Pablo Picasso. In 1936, he exhibited at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London.

Following World War II, during which time, Sutherland created works as an official war artist, he produced the The Crucifixion for St. Matthew’s Church in Northampton, which came to be considered one of the most important religious paintings of the 20th century. He continued to create religious works, including a tapestry design for Coventry Cathedral, Christ in Glory.

In addition, Sutherland created expressionistic portraits, as well as glass and fabric designs, posters, ceramics, book illustrations, and ballet costumes. In 1960, he was elected to the Order of Merit, and, in 1972, he was made a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He held exhibitions at the ICA and Tate Gallery in London, the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Biennial, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Sutherland died in Kent, England. Today, his works can be found in numerous institutions around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Royal Collection in London, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Timeline

1925
Solo exhibition of prints and drawings at the Twenty-One Gallery
1920–1926
Worked as a printmaker
1921–1926
Spent a year as an apprentice engineering draughtsman before entering Goldsmith’s College in London, where he studied etching and engraving
1928
Solo exhibition of prints and drawings at the Twenty-One Gallery
1926–1933
Member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers
1936
Participated in the International Surrealist Exhibition in London
1930–1939
Exhibited with the New English Art Club and the London Group
1926–1940
Taught at the Chelsea School of Art (firstly engraving, later, composition and book illustration)
1951
Designed a mural, The Origins of the Land, for the Festival of Britain
1951
Retrospective exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts
1952
Designed a huge tapestry, Christ the Redeemer Enthroned in Glory, for the high altar in the new Coventry Cathedral (it was installed in 1962)
1952
Exhibited in the Venice Biennale
1952
Retrospective exhibition at the Musée National de l’Art Moderne in Paris
1953
Retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery
1954
Portrait commission for Winston Churchill
1955
Exhibited at the Sao Paolo Bienal