John Hoyland RA is regarded as the leading abstract artist of his generation.
Born in Sheffield in 1934, he studied at Sheffield School of Art (1951-1956) and then at the Royal Academy Schools (1956-1960). He then taught at the Chelsea School of Art, where he met Patrick Caulfield, who became one of his closest friends, and then at the Slade and Royal Academy art schools.
He continued to paint, exhibiting in a variety of one-man shows at the Whitechapel Gallery, the Marlborough New London Gallery and, annually, at the Waddington Galleries. In 1964 he moved to New York, where the kind of Abstract Expressionism in which he was interested was at a more advanced stage than in London. Hoyland’s works are powerful and richly coloured, built up from layers of thick paint. Rivers of colour run over the surface, often focussed on a cell-like central focus to the composition.
Hoyland’s first solo show was held at the Marlborough New London Gallery, London in 1964. This was followed by a string of national and international solo exhibitions, including the Whitechapel Gallery, London (1967). He exhibited at the Waddington Galleries, London throughout the 1970s and 1980s. A retrospective of his work was held at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1979 and again in 1999 in the Sackler Galleries of the Royal Academy. Hoyland’s work has also been included in numerous international group exhibitions from 1964, when his work was selected for the New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. He also participated in group exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool and the Barbican Gallery, London in 1993, and at Galerie Josine Bokhoven, Amsterdam and the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1994.
Hoyland received many awards throughout his career, including the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Purchase Award (1963) and a Peter Stuyvesant travel bursary (1964). He was also a Prize Winner at the John Moore’s Liverpool Exhibition (1964) and later won First Prize (1982). He received an Arts Council purchase award (1979), joint first prize (with William Scott) in the Korn Ferry International (1986) and first prize of the Athena Art Award (1987). In 1998 he won the Wollaston Award for the most distinguished work in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
Hoyland developed strong links with America from the late 1960s. He was appointed Charles A Dana Professor of Fine Art at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York in 1972 and was artist in residence at the Studio School, New York in 1978 and at Melbourne University in 1979. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1991 and in 1999 was appointed Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy Schools. In 2001 he received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University.
John Hoyland RA passed away in July 2011, aged 77.
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