Patrick Heron  (British, 1920-1999) 

Patrick Heron (British, January 30, 1920–March 20, 1999) was an Abstract painter, writer, and designer who made noteworthy contributions to the development of Abstract Art. Heron was born in Headingley, Leeds, in Yorkshire, England. In 1933, Heron began to paint under the influence of Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906) after visiting the National Gallery in London during a school trip. Heron's love for painting grew, and in 1950, he attended The Slade School of Art. Between 1944 and 1945, during World War II, Heron met many leading artists of the St Ives School at Leach Pottery at St Ives, including Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903?1975) and Ben Nicholson (British, 1894?1982), both artists of Abstract compositions. This endeared Heron to the European Abstract Expressionist movement. In 1943, Heron completed his first mature painting, The Piano.

Impressed by an exhibition of work by Georges Braque (French, 1882?1963) at the Tate Gallery in London, Heron wrote his first essay on Braque in 1946. Immediately after this, he began to tour Paris, Provence, and Italy. Heron exhibited his first series of Abstract paintings in a solo exhibition at Redfern Gallery in London in 1947. Heron taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London between 1953 and 1956. Heron first met the American Abstract Expressionists in London in 1956 during an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, and he soon started to paint in an Abstract style, as seen in the paintings Square Leaves (1956) and Winter Harbour (1955). The inspiration that led to Heron's characteristic style of interlinking forms and balancing space and color can be linked to his move to Eagles Nest in Cornwall, England. Heron visited Sydney, Australia, between 1967 and 1973, and he exhibited at the Bonython Gallery. He also delivered a public lecture on Contemporary Art titled The Shape of Color. In 1957, Heron's first Stripe paintings were exhibited in a group show titled Metavisual, Taschiste, Abstract by Heron's wife, Delia. She died in 1979, and Heron could not paint for a few years.

In 1989, Heron returned to Sydney, Australia, and worked from the Art Gallery in New South Wales. Heron held an exhibition at the Camden Art Gallery in 1994 titled Big Paintings, which exhibited his largest paintings, measuring 15 to 22 feet long. In 1996, Heron collaborated with his son-in-law Julian Feary in setting up an outdoor artwork installation titled Big Painting Sculpture. Heron continued to paint until the day before he died in 1999 in Cornwall, England. His works can be seen in museums around the world.

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Patrick Heron, Four Square Baroque: Black, Emerald, Orange, Blue, Brown, Violet


Patrick Heron
Four Square Baroque: Black, Emerald, Orange, Blue, Brown, Violet

Alan Wheatley Art
Patrick Heron, Serrated Blue Square in Brown Ground : July 1959 PH.59/O/20


Patrick Heron
Serrated Blue Square in Brown Ground : July 1959 PH.59/O/20

Waddington Custot Galleries
Patrick Heron, Sixteen by Twenty : January 1977 PH.77/O/09


Patrick Heron
Sixteen by Twenty : January 1977 PH.77/O/09

Waddington Custot Galleries
Patrick Heron, Big Violet with Red and Blue


Patrick Heron
Big Violet with Red and Blue

Beaux Arts
Patrick Heron, Small Red: January 1973


Patrick Heron
Small Red: January 1973

Offer Waterman & Co
Patrick Heron, Blue Painting; August 1960


Patrick Heron
Blue Painting; August 1960
Merville Galleries
Patrick Heron, Blue Vertical


Patrick Heron
Blue Vertical

Richard Green
Patrick Heron, Cobalt with Ceruleum and Ultramarine


Patrick Heron
Cobalt with Ceruleum and Ultramarine

Beaux Arts
Patrick Heron, 30 June : 1995 PH.95/G/31


Patrick Heron
30 June : 1995 PH.95/G/31

Waddington Custot Galleries
Past auction results (674)  View All
Patrick Heron, Ragged Scarlet and Ceruleum : October


Patrick Heron
Ragged Scarlet and Ceruleum : October, 1961
oil on canvas


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Patrick Heron, Six in vermillion with green in yellow


Patrick Heron
Six in vermillion with green in yellow, 1970
color silkscreen


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Patrick Heron, Three reds in magenta


Patrick Heron
Three reds in magenta, 1970


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1920   Born on January 30th in Headingley, Leeds, Yorkshire
1935 - 1939   Works as designer for his father’s firm, Cresta Silks
1937 - 1939   Studied at the Slade School of Art
1944 - 1945   Assistant at Bernard Leach’s pottery, St Ives
1945   Moves to Holland Park, London
1944 - 1950   Works as designer for his father’s firm, Cresta Silks
1953 - 1956   Taught at the Central School of Art, London
1956   Moves to Eagles Nest, Zennor, Cornwall
1945 - 1958   Critic for New English Weekly, New Statesman and Nation and Arts (New York)
1958   Moves into Nicholson’s studio at Porthmeor, St Ives
1959   Winner of Grand Prize, in 2nd John Moores Exhibition
1965   Awarded Silver medal in the VIII Sao Paulo Bienal
1972   Retrospective at the Whitechapel Art Gallery
1977   Created CBE
1985   Retrospective at the Barbican Art Gallery
1998   Retrospective at Tate Britain
1999   Died in St Ives, 20 March
2008   The Effect Haim Steinbach, Waddington Galleries, London
2005   Patrick Heron: Gouaches from 1961 to 1996, Waddington Galleries, London
1998   Tate Gallery, London
1993   Inaugural Exhibition, Tate St Ives, Cornwall
1959 - 1987   Waddington Galleries, London
1985   Barbican Art Gallery, London
1985   St Ives 1939-64, Tate Gallery, London
1985   British Art in the Twentieth Century: The Modern Movement, Royal Academy, London
1979   Oriel Gallery, Cardiff
1977   British Painting 1952-1977, Royal Academy of Arts, London
1972 - 1973   Decade: Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Britain 1940-9, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, touring to Southampton, Durham, Carlisle, Manchester, Bradford and Aberdeen
1972   Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
1968   Museum of Modern Art, Oxford
1965   São Paulo Bienal VIII, (Silver Medal) (exhibition toured South America in 1966)
1963   Galerie Charles Lienhard, Zürich
1962 - 1963   British Art Today, San Francisco Museum of Art, California, touring to Dallas and Santa Barbara
1960, 1962, 1965   Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York
1959   John Moores Liverpool Exhibition II, Liverpool
1947 - 1958   Redfern Gallery, London
1954   British Painting and Sculpture 1954, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
1953   Space in Colour, Hanover Gallery, London
1950   Aspects of British art, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
2001    Patrick Heron, Fiona MacCarthy, Tate Gallery, London
1998    Patrick Heron, Tate Gallery, London
1994    Patrick Heron, Mel Gooding, Phaidon, London
1988    Patrick Heron, Vivien Knight, John Taylor/Lund Humphries, London