Peter Lanyon

(British, 1918–1964)

gannet by peter lanyon

Peter Lanyon

Gannet, 1964

north east by peter lanyon

Peter Lanyon

North East, 1963



born on the 8th February 1918 in St. Ives, Cornwall, the only son of Herbert Lanyon, a semi-professional musician and photographer
Following a private education at Clifton College near Bristol, Lanyon enrolled at Penzance School of Art in 1936
In 1937 he met Adrian Stokes, whose writing and aesthetic theories dramatically affected his work
After a trip with his mother and sister to South Africa in 1938 and a period of depression, Lanyon enrolled at the Euston Road School in London in May 1939, as advised by Stokes
Though he stayed for no more than two months, his principal teachers being William Coldstream and Victor Pasmore, he believed the experience was ‘exceedingly good training'
Having returned to Cornwall, Lanyon noted the disintegration of his painting in July/August, but was once more aided by Stokes who suggested he take lessons with Ben Nicholson, which began in September 1939
Receiving direction in formal aspects of abstract composition from a leading figure of British Modernism led Lanyon into experiments with reliefs and constructions, such as his White Track and Box Construction No. 1
Throughout the 1940s the influence of Nicholson, as well as Naum Gabo and to a lesser extent Barbara Hepworth, was visible in his work. Lanyon enlisted at the age of twenty and served in the Royal Air Force in North Africa, Palestine and Italy
In 1946 he married Shelia St. John Browne and they had six children between 1947 and 1957. After World War II Lanyon was actively involved with the Crypt group and was a founder member of the Penwith School of Art in 1949
Lanyon had his first one-man exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery in London in 1950 and began teaching at the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, until 1957


1984 - 1985
British Council Exhibition touring Ireland, Portugal and Spain, Cornwall: Drawings by Peter Lanyon and Photographs by Andrew Lanyon; Gimpel Fils, London, Peter Lanyon: Selected Works 1952-64
1970 - 1971
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol and Park Square Gallery, Leeds
1958 - 1960
Gimpel Fils, London
1952 - 1954
Gimpel Fils, London
Air, Land and Sea, South Bank Centre, London, Arts Council, touring exhibition
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, Peter Lanyon: Landscapes 1946-1964; Gillian Jason Gallery, London, Peter Lanyon: Works on Paper
New Art Centre, London; Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall; Gimpel Fils, London, Peter Lanyon : Works 1946-1964
City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent, Peter Lanyon: Drawings and Graphic Work, touring to Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; City Museum and t Gallery, Plymouth
Arts Council, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, Peter Lanyon; Paintings, Drawings and Constructions 1937-1964, touring to Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; Kettle's Yard, Cambridge; Penwith Society of Art, St. Ives; Royal West of England Academy of Arts, Bristol
Gimpel Fils, London; New Art Centre, London