John Melville  (British, 1902-1986) 


Find John Melville artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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John Melville, Interior


John Melville

The Court Gallery
Past auction results (152)  View All
John Melville, Starry night


John Melville
Starry night, 1969
oil on canvas


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John Melville, Water Nymphs


John Melville
Water Nymphs, 1972
oil on canvas


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John Melville, Sleeping woman


John Melville
Sleeping woman, 1950
oil on board


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  John Melville was born in London but moved to Birmingham in his youth. He attended classes at the Birmingham College of Art but in effect was self-taught, and begun to paint full time towards the 1920s, spending most of his time in the Cotswolds until the early 1930s.
  His early paintings show a strong Cubist influence. In the early 1930s, he became a convert to Surrealism, and remained more or less faithful to surrealist ideas for the rest of his life. A member of the Birmingham Group in the 1930’s, he joined the Surrealist Group in 1938. Shortly afterwards, just before the onset of World War II, Melville published a series of pieces in the Surrealist publication London Bulletin, but a clear move towards painted portraits and still life was evident during the war.
  His first one-man show was held in 1932 at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham; followed by an exhibition at the Wertheim Gallery, London - one of the most progressive avant-garde galleries around at the time.
  The Post War years brought about a change in his work, he turned more to conventional modernism. In the 1960s he reverted to Surrealism again adding a strong element of expressionism. He was working almost in total isolation towards the end of his life.
2006   John Melville: A 'Marvellous' English Artist - A Personal Journey to Surrealism and Beyond, The Millinery Works Art Gallery, London (solo)
2000   Surrealism in Birmingham, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
1999   From the Unconscious to the Irreverent, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
1996   Retrospective, Westbourne Gallery 62, London (solo)
1987   Memorial Exhibition, Gothick Dream Fine Art (solo)
1986   Retrospective, Blond Fine Art, London (solo)
1986   British Surrealism 50 Years On, Mayor Gallery, London
1986   Surrealism in Britain, touring exhibition
1986   Angels of Anarchy and Machines for Making Clouds, Leeds City Art Gallery
1985   A Salute to British Surrealism, 1930 - 1950 which toured The Minories, Colchester; Blond Fine Art, London; The Ferens Hall Art Gallery, Hull
1982   Les Enfants d’Alice, La Peinture Surrealiste 1930 - 1960 en Angleterre, Galarie 1900-2000, Paris
1978   Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, Hayward Gallery, London
1974   Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
1971   Hamet Gallery, London
1969   Birmingham University, Birmingham (solo)
1967   R.B.S.A Galleries, Birmingham (solo)
1955   Zwemmer Gallery, London; New English Art Club, R.B.A Galleries, London
1951   Hanover Gallery, London (solo)
1949   The Birmingham Artists Committee Invitation Exhibition Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Galleries and then Bilston Corporation Art Gallery
1945   Four Birmingham Artists, Birmingham City Art Gallery
1942   Renzios 2nd Surrealist Exhibition
1940   Surrealist Exhibition, Zwemmer Gallery, London
1939   London Gallery, London
1938   Realism and Surrealism, Gloucester
1933   Twenties Group Exhibition, Wertheim Gallery, London
1932   Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (solo)
1932   Wertheim Gallery, London (solo)
1930   Modern English Watercolour Society, St George's Gallery, London