Robyn Denny  (British, 1930) 


Find Robyn Denny artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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Artworks for sale (24)
In Art Galleries (27)
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In Past Auctions (184)

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Artworks for sale (24)

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Robyn Denny, All Through the Day (purple)


Robyn Denny
All Through the Day (purple)

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, Paradise Suite, Untitled I (red w/ pink + green inner)


Robyn Denny
Paradise Suite, Untitled I (red w/ pink + green inner)

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, Generations 12


Robyn Denny
Generations 12

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, The Heavenly Suite (pink)


Robyn Denny
The Heavenly Suite (pink)

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, The Paramount Suite (orange)


Robyn Denny
The Paramount Suite (orange)

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, Light of the World (E)


Robyn Denny
Light of the World (E)

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, The Night Suite B


Robyn Denny
The Night Suite B

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, Generations 23


Robyn Denny
Generations 23

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Robyn Denny, Candy


Robyn Denny

Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Past auction results (184)  View All
Robyn Denny, Kite


Robyn Denny
colored cotton


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Robyn Denny, Sweet nature 17; Sweet nature 15 (2 works)


Robyn Denny
Sweet nature 17; Sweet nature 15 (2 works), 1975
paper collage


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Robyn Denny, C.P./15 A


Robyn Denny
C.P./15 A, 1968
oil on canvas


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  Robyn Denny, born in Surrey in 1930, is one of a legendary group who transformed British art in the late 1950s, leading it into the international mainstream. He studied at the Royal College of Art in the mid-1950s, among a generation that included Richard Smith and Alan Green. Inspired by Abstract Expressionism, American films, popular culture and urban modernity, they recognised abstract painting as their only conceivable route. Denny’s idiosyncratic contemporary voice emerged with the first of the public art projects that have punctuated his career: a mural for the Austin Reed store in Regent Street, London which read ‘Great big biggest wide London’; it epitomised the optimism and confidence of the city at the dawn of the 1960s. As an intensely urban man, the scale and format of Denny’s work relate to built environments, to the human presence among structures rather than to nature.
  From 1950 to 1954 he studied in Paris and at St Martin’s School of Art, London, followed by two years National Service in the Royal Navy. After graduating from the Royal College in 1957 he was awarded a scholarship to study in Italy, then taught part-time at Hammersmith School of Art, the Slade School of Art and the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham. An active and distinguished career has included participation in ground-breaking exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. They include a retrospective at the Tate Gallery (1973); ‘Place’ (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1959); ‘Situation’ (RBA Galleries, London, 1960); ‘London: the New Scene’ (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Minneapolis and north American tour, 1965); Venice Biennale, 1966 and ‘The Sixties Art Scene in London’ (Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1993). In 1981 Denny moved to Los Angeles, returning to London in the 1990s. In California he found a congenial urban environment and a natural light, including the notorious smog, that captivated him and enabled him to develop a new aesthetic.
  Among the paintings that Denny made at the Royal College are rudimentary images of heads, indebted to French Tachisme, with dripped and dribbled paint and an occasional discreet patch of fashionable burnt bitumen. These were interspersed with abstract collages and large gestural paintings which display the broad gestures and bold marks of American Abstract Expressionism, exhibited in London in 1956 and 1959. Other works, like Denny’s early murals, contain vestiges of letters and numerals, in an echo of contemporary French lettriste painting. In 1959 the deceptively simple canvases that he showed in the ‘Place’ exhibition had, like other works made at this time, a horizontal band at their base. Set directly on the floor, unframed, they invited the viewer to cross a rudimentary threshold, acknowledging the corporeal presence of a viewing body without offering any concessions to illusion.
  In this way ‘Place’ initiated a reformulation of the understanding of pictorial space for the 1960s. Denny continued his exploration of space though the decade, starting with ‘Situation’ in 1960, an exhibition organised as a celebration of the large canvas, for which artists were required to produce entirely abstract work of not less than 30 square feet. ‘Situation’ (the title referred to ‘the situation in London now’) represented a new professionalism for British artists as well as a synthesis between European and American models. For Denny it opened the period in which he produced ‘some of the most accomplished abstract paintings made in Britain in the twentieth century’ (David Mellor, 2002). During the 1960s he developed a range of work which explores both space and modes of perception. From lines and bands of colour that read as stripes on plain grounds, proposing a space containing a vertical form analogous to the viewer, Denny developed the ‘Out-Line’ group where symmetrical forms are surrounded by a transparent linear structure. With the ‘Lineaments’ this structure became the central, hieratic, almost portal-like focus of the work. In the mid-1960s he introduced oblique lines then, in the ‘Overpaintings’, fragmented structures defiantly at odds with their enclosing squares and rectangles.
  In 1969 Denny organised an exhibition for the Arts Council on the American artist Charles Biederman, who for over 20 years worked exclusively on vividly coloured abstract reliefs. This experience coincided with a new intensity of colour in Denny’s work, shifting from rich, dark harmonies to high, bright contrasts, from a sense of twilight to daylight. Formats also changed, notably in the three-dimensional perspex ‘Colour Boxes’ and the ‘Horizontal Paintings’ of the early 1970s which run in a concentrated block across the base of the canvas.
  Despite the overall balance and resolution of the 1960s paintings they are inherently contradictory, challenging the viewer’s perceptual expectations. There is neither ‘figure’ nor ‘ground’ but a constant process of visual adjustment; space is thus an ambiguous mental construct rather than a familiar physical quality; colour produces flicker effects and becomes unstable and scale, in works where nothing is certain, is perhaps the greatest conundrum as there is nothing to compare it with. But these perceptual and intellectual dilemmas are what define Denny’s 1960s paintings, marking them as works of rare quality that can stand alongside the best American painting of the period.
  In California, Denny’s painting again changed radically. In the late 1970s, the acrylic ‘Moonshine’ drawings had incorporated scratch marks, leading eventually to a series of large monochrome paintings where a concentrated cluster of scratching rests, with shockingly disruptive impact, on a thin horizontal: a datum line, never a ‘horizon’. Though they disturb expectation, these are among Denny’s most beautiful works. Their acrylic surfaces are delicate and subtly modulated, constructed from up to 30 layers of pigment applied until it is intensely rich, absorbing the eye and the attention. Few painters can fill a near-monochrome canvas with so much import. The central image may be a small tight parcel of coloured paper, like a spell or a ‘secret’, or an urgent concentration of colour posed on the canvas as an attention-demanding event. Most recently these centres - of meaning, activity and reciprocity between painting and viewer – have become three-dimensional. If their meanings are largely irretrievable they are none the less dramatic and disquieting, thrusting their presence forward.
  Since the early 1960s colour and form have been inseparable in Denny’s work; they have remained controlled, resolved and resolutely abstract. Yet they are redolent of human experience and of light and space; their titles contain innumerable – if incidental - references to popular culture. Denny’s comment on Charles Biederman is true also of himself: he is one of the ‘most remarkable, and sustainedly radical artists of our time’.
  He is now represented by Delaye Saltoun.
  Public Collections
  National Gallery of Australia, Sydney
  Daimler Chrysler Collection, Berlin
  Verraneman Foundation
  Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran
  Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon
  Tate Gallery, London
  Victoria & Albert Museum, London
  Arts Council of England
  The British Council
  Contemporary Art Society
  Government Art Collection
  Department of the Environment
  Granada Art Collection
  Peter Stuyvesant Collection
  Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
  Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
  Arnolfini Collections Trust, Bristol
  University of Liverpool
  Norwich City Art Gallery
  Sheffield City Art Gallery
  Dundee Art Gallery & Museum
  National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
  City Art Gallery, Leeds
  Ulster Museum Belfast
  Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
  Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh
  Council for National Academic Awards
  Southampton City Art Gallery
  Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford
  The Pier Art Centre, Scotland
  University of Warwick Arts Centre
  Museum of Modern Art, New York
  Schroder Bank, New York
  Chase Manhattan Bank, New York
  Phillips Collection, Washington DC
  Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
  Security Pacific Nat. Bank, LA
  First Bank of Chicago
  Chicago Art Institute
  Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo
  Alexandria Museum, Louisiana
  University of Virginia
  University of Syracuse
  University of Northern Iowa
  Yale Centre for British Art
  Minnesota State University
  National Gallery of Australia
2012   Galerie Ziegler SA, Zürich, "von Arp bis Tinguely"
2005   Elements of Abstraction: Space, Line & Interval in British Art, Southampton City Art Gallery
2004   Hirschl Contemporary Art, London (solo)
2002   Hirschl Contemporary Art, London (solo)
2001   Hirschl Contemporary Art, London (solo)
2000   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich (solo)
1995 - 1996   Out of Order. Independent Art Space, London
1995 - 1996   Really Out of Order. Hansard Gallery, Southampton
1993 - 1994   The Sixties Art Scene in London, Barbican Art Centre, London
1992   The New Patrons, Twentieth Century Art from Corporate Collections, Christie’s London
1992   Ready Steady Go, Painting from the Sixties, from the Arts Council Collection, The South Bank Centre, London
1992   Three Artists Three Decades, Robyn Denny, John Hoyland, Gwyther Irwin, Redfer, London
1992   Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London (solo)
1991   The Presence of Painting, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; touring to Hatton Gallery, Newcastle Upon Tyne
1991   Not Pop, What the others were doing. Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London
1988   Painting at the Royal College of Art, Royal College of Art Gallery, London
1988   Corsham – A Celebration, Michael Parkin Gallery, London
1988   The Presence of Painting, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; touring to Hatton Gallery, Newcastle Upon Tyne
1985   Twenty Five Years, Annely Juda, London
1985   Fine Arts Gallery, U.C. Irvine, California (solo)
1984   Home and Abroad, Arts Council Exhibition
1984   The Serpentine Gallery, London
1984   Art Within Reach, Icon Gallery, Brimingham
1983   The Granada Collection, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
1983   The London Suite (Prints), Icon Art Gallery, Birmingham
1982   Drawing - New Directions, Summit Art Gallery, Summit, USA
1982   Bernard Jacobson Gallery, Los Angeles (solo)
1981   Jacobson/Hochman Gallery, New York (solo)
1981   Salty Le Gallais Gallery, Jersey, Channel Islands
1981   Group IV, Waddington Galleries, London
1981   Recent Drawing, Jacobson Hochman Gallery, New York
1980   Gallery Artists, Bernard Jacobson Ltd., London
1980   Kelpra Studio – The Rose and Chris Prater Exhibition, Tate Gallery London
1980   Aronson Gallery, Atlanta (solo)
1979   Bernard Jacobson Ltd, London (solo)
1979   Bernard Jacobson Ltd, New York (solo)
1979   The Museum of Drawers, Kunstmuseum, Bern
1979   The Deck of Cards, J.P.L. Fine Arts, London
1979   20 C. British Art, Middlesborough Art Gallery
1978   Festival Gallery, Bath (solo)
1977   Waddington and Tooth Galleries, London (solo)
1977   Annual Show, Hayward Gallery, London
1977   Jubilee Exhibition, Royal Academy, London
1976   For John Constable, Tate Gallery, London
1976   Peintres et Sculpteurs Britanniques, Centre Culturel de la Ville de Toulouse
1976   Galleria Morone, Milan (solo)
1975   Galleria La Polena, Genova (solo)
1975   Jacques Damase Gallery, Brussels (solo)
1975   Neue Galerie, Linz (solo)
1975   Galerie Modulo, Porto (solo)
1975   Peinture Anglaise Contemporaine, Musée de Grenoble
1975   La Pitture Inglese Oggi, Ciak Gallery, Rome
1974   Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Cabinet des Estampes, Geneva
1974   Galerie Schottinring, Vienna
1974   Galerie Jacomo-Sontiveri, Paris (solo)
1974   Marlborough Gallery, Rome (solo)
1974   Galleria del Cavillino, Venice (solo)
1974   Galleria L’Approdo, Turin (solo)
1974   Galleria Rondanini, Rome (solo)
1974   Galerie Wentzel, Hamburg (solo)
1974   Galerie Wellman, Dusseldorf (solo)
1974   Santiveri Gallery, Paris (solo)
1973   Tate Gallery, London (retrospective exhibition), touring to Wurttengergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, and Stadtisches Museum, Leverkusen, Germany
1973   Studio la Citta, Verona (solo)
1973   Galerie T, Amsterdam (solo)
1972   Galerie Ziegler SA, Genève (solo)
1972   Alecto International, Studio La Citta, Verona
1972   Ziegler Edition & Grafik, Zürich (solo)
1970 - 1972   Large Paintings, Arts Council Touring Exhibition
1971   Galerie Mikro, Berlin
1971   Galerie Muller, Cologne
1971   Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol
1970   Galerie Muller, Stuttgart & Cologne
1970   Kasmin Gallery, London (solo)
1970   Robert Elkon Gallery, New York (solo)
1970   Arts Council Touring Exhibition
1970   Kelpra Prints, Hayward Gallery, London
1970   Contemporary British Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
1970   British Painting and Sculpture 1960-70, National Gallery, Washington DC
1969   Exhibition of Alecto Colour Boxes, Gimpel and Weitzenhoffer, New York
1969   Contemporary British Paintings, South African Tour
1969   Kasmin Artists, Arts Council Gallery, Belfast
1969   New Editions, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford
1969   12 Britische Artisten, Kunstlerhaus Galerie, Vienna
1969   Contemporary British Painting, Art Centre, Delaward
1969   Kasmin Gallery, London (solo)
1969   Waddington Gallery, London (solo)
1969   Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol (solo)
1968   Forum Stadtpart, Graz (solo)
1968   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich (solo)
1968   Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh International, Pittsburgh
1968   A Collector’s Exhibition, Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Canada
1968   Purchases, The Contemporary Art Society
1968   Works on Paper, Waddington Gallery, London
1968   Ceri Richards/Robyn Denny, Arnolfini Art Centre, Bristol
1968   Arte Moltiplicate, Galleria Milano
1968   Suites, Recent Prints, Jewish Museum, New York
1968   Junge Generation, Grossbritannien, Akademie er Kunste, Berlin
1968   Prospect 68, Dusseldorf
1968   Mostra Mercato d’art Contemporanea, Palazzo Strozzi Florence
1968   Ornamentale Tendenzen, Berlin
1968   Ornamentale Tendenzen, Leverkusen
1968   Ornamentale Tendenzen, Schloss Wolfsburg
1968   Peintres Europeens d’Aujourd’hui, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris and USA tour
1968   Art Vivant, Foundation Maeght, Paris
1967 - 1968   John Moores Liverpool Exhibition VI, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
1967   Jeunes Peintres Anglais, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
1967   Four Young English Painters, Kunsthalle, Mannheim
1967   Jeunes Peintres Anglais, Galerie Alice Pauli, Lausanne
1967   Jeunes Peintres Anglais, Galerie Feigel, Basel
1967   Vormen van de Kleur, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1967   Recent British Painting, Stuyvesant Foundation, Tate Gallery
1967   Exposition Internationale de Gravures, Vancouver
1967   Forem der Frabe, Kunstverein, Stuttgart; touring to Kunsthalle, Berne
1967   Four British Painters, Two British Potters, Museum Boymans – van Beuningen, Rotterdam
1967   7th Exposition Internationale, Modern Galeria Llubljana
1967   Kasmin Gallery, London (solo)
1967   Robert Elkon Gallery, New York (solo)
1966   Robert Elkon Gallery, New York (solo)
1966   Caro/Cohen/Denny/Smith, Kasmin Gallery, London
1966   XXXIII Biennale, Venice
1966   5 Junge Englander, Kunsthalle, Mannheim, Biennale Venedig
1966   International Print Biennale, Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art
1966   Robyn Denny/ John Ernest, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol
1965 - 1966   John Moores Liverpool Exhibition V, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
1965   New Painting 1961-65, Arts Council Touring Exhibition
1965   London: the New Scene, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, touring to Canada
1965   Paris Biennale, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
1965   Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol
1965   Focus on Drawing, Art Gallery of Toronto
1965   Art Vivant, Foundation Maeght, Paris
1964   Contemporary British Painting and Sculpture, Albright-Know Gallery, Buffalo
1964   Britische Malerei der Gernerwart, Kunsthalle Dusseldorf
1964   John Moores Liverpool Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery
1964   Documenta III, Kassel
1964   La Peau de l’Ours Kunsthalle, Basel
1964   Young British Painters, 1955-1960, Art Gallery of New South Wales
1964   Kasmin Gallery, London (solo)
1963   Galerie Muller, Stuttgart (solo)
1963   Towards Art, Arts Council, Touring Exhibition
1963   7 Junge Englische Malerei, Kunsthalle, Basle
1963   Galerie Huber, Zurich
1963   Ten Years, Gallery One, London
1963   H ‘63’ Hamilton Galleries, London
1963   7th International Biennale, Tokyo
1963   British Painting in the 60’s, Tate Gallery, London
1963   Absolute Farbe, Avant Garde 63, Museum Trier
1962 - 1963   Situation, Arts Council Touring Exhibition, to Cambridge, Aberdeen, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bradford, Kettering and Liverpool
1962   Denny/Greninger/Olsen, Galerie Handschin, Basel
1962   Nine Painters from England, Galleria Trastevere, Rome
1962   Towards Art, Royal College of Art, London
1962   Galleria Scacchi Gracco (solo)
1961   Molton Gallery, London (solo)
1961   AIA – Directions/Connections, London
1961   Art of Assemblage, Museum of Modern Art, New York
1961   New London Situation, New London Gallery
1961   Neue Marlerie in England, Stadtisches Museum, Leverkusen
1961   Six Young Painters, Arts Council Tour
1960 - 1961   Danad Design, Portal Gallery, London
1960   Situation, RBA Galleries, London
1959 - 1960   John Moores Liverpool Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
1959   London Group, RBA Galleries, London
1959   British Paintings and Prints from Paris Biennale, AIA Gallery, London
1959   Première Biennale, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
1959   Premio Lissone, Milan
1959   Place, ICA, London
1958 - 1959   British Painting, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.(touring)
1958   British Abstract Painting, Auckland City Art Gallery; touring to National Gallery of Art, Sydney
1958   British Painting, Neiman Marcus, Dallas
1958   Gallery One, London (solo)
1958   Gimpel Fils, London (solo)
1958   London Group, RBA Galleries, London
1958   A1A25, RBA Galleries, London
1958   Summer Exhibition, Redfern Gallery, London
1958   Robyn Denny and Charles Carey, Gallery One, London
1958   American Guggenheim Awards, Manchester City Art Gallery,;Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Brighton Art Gallery
1958   Contemporary Art Acquisitions, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo
1957   Metavisual, Tachiste, Abstract, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Liege
1957   The British School at Rome, Imperial Institute, London
1957   New Trends in British Art, New York Art Foundation, Rome
1957   Young Contemporaries, RBA Galleries, London
1957   Metavisual, Tachiste, Abstract, Redfern Gallery, London
1957   Critics Choice, (Neville Wallis) Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
1957   Dimensions, O’Hana Gallery, London
1957   Summer Exhibition, Gimpel Fils, London
1956   Young Contemporaries, RBA Galleries, London
1954   Young Contemporaries, RBA Galleries, London
1953   Young Contemporaries, RBA Galleries, London
1973    Exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, 1973.
1966    David THOMPSON, Five Young British Artists, XXXIII Venice Biennale