Peter De Francia 1921-2012

 
Peter de Francia initially established his reputation in the 1950s with his powerful politically and socially enagaged paintings and drawings. There may be precedents for Peter de Francia's work in that of Goya, Beckmann, Grosz, Picasso and Guttuso, but his is a distinctly personal vision, as relevant today as it was half a century ago. One of his major painting of the 1950s, The Bombing of Sakiet, has for many years been on display at Tate Modern and another large-scale political work, The Execution of Beloyannis was included in the recent publication, 1001 Pictures to See before You Die.

Whether de Francia's subjects are real or imagined, whether he uses the language of myth or fable, what always comes through is the artist's engagement with people and above all his intense humanity. He exposes the horror of man's treatment of man, but there are also intimations of something better - a world of friendship and camaraderie, of humour and simple pleasures.

Perhaps most famed for his drawing, de Francia was also a powerful painter, whose influence on future generations was also spread through his teaching at the Royal College of Art and his writing, from early days as a critic to a major monograph on Fernand Leger.

Aspects of Peter de Francia's work have been presented in a number of exhibitions at James Hyman Gallery in recent years and in January 2011 James Hyman Fine Art presented a major exhibition that included large scale paintings in celebration of the artist's ninetieth birthday.

The Estate of Peter de Francia is represented by James Hyman Fine Art.

1921
Born, Beaulieu, Alpes Maritimes, France

1938-40
Education: Academy of Brussels

1945-48
Slade School, University of London


Appointments:

1949-50
Canadian Government Exhibition Commission, Ottawa

1950-51
Architects' Department, American Museum, New York

1951-52
Talks Producer, BBC Television

1953-68
Tutor, Department of Art History and Complementary Studies, St Martin's School of Art, London

1963-69
Tutor, Department of Art History and Complementary Studies, Royal College of Art, London

1969-72
Principal, Department of Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London

1972-86
Professor of Painting (postgraduate), Royal College of Art, London

1990
DAAD Fellowship, Berlin

1991
Visiting Professor, University of Baroda
Visiting tutor, School of Fine Art, Nicosia

1992
Visiting tutor, New York Studio School

1994
Visiting tutor, Vermont Studio Center

2003-6
The Bombing of Sakiet on display at Tate Modern

2006
de Francia display room at Tate Britain

2011
The Bombing of Sakiet on display at Tate Britain

2012
Died 19 January 2012


Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2011
Peter de Francia. Paintings: A 90th Birthday Retrospective, James Hyman Gallery, London

2009
Peter de Francia. Art World Drawings, James Hyman Gallery, London

2008
Peter de Francia: A Sideways Glance, Charleston
Modern Myths, New York Studio School (catalogue), New York

2007-8
The Ship of Fools: Peter de Francia in Focus, Pallant House, Chichester

2006
Peter de Francia, Tate Britain (brochure, interview by Philip Dodd), London

2005
After the Bombing, James Hyman Gallery, London

2004
Drawings, The Gallery, Wimbledon School of Art, London

2002
Peter de Francia: Fables and Other Drawings: 1990-2001, Queen's Gallery, British Council, New Delhi, India

1999
Peter de Francia: Drawings, Ruskin School, Oxford

Peter de Francia: Ballets Africains: Drawings, The Place, London

1996
Peter de Francia: Drawings 1993-96, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London

1995
Peter de Francia, Gloria Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus

1991
Peter de Francia, Centre for Contemporary Art, New Delhi, India

1987
Peter de Francia: Paintings and drawings, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield

1989
Peter de Francia: Untitled, Frith Street Gallery, London

1990
Peter de Francia, Pomeroy Purdy Gallery, London

1987
Peter de Francia: Retrospective, Camden Arts Centre, London

1983
Peter de Francia, Forum Gallery, New York

1980
Peter de Francia, New Art Centre, London

1978
Peter de Francia, Gallery of the Institute of Cultural Relations, Budapest, Hungary

1977
Peter de Francia: Retrospective, Camden Arts Centre, London & New 57 Gallery, Edinburgh

1976
Peter de Francia, New Art Centre, London

1969
Peter de Francia, New 57 Gallery, Edinburgh

1962
Peter de Francia, Forum Gallery, New York

1962
Peter de Francia, Gallery of the Union of Czech Writers, Prague

1961
Peter de Francia, Galerie d'Eendt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1959
Peter de Francia, Colonna Gallery, Milan, Italy

1958
Peter de Francia, Waddington Galleries, London (catalogue)

Peter de Francia, Colonna Gallery, Milan, Italy


Selected Group Exhibitions:

2011
Beyond The Human Clay, James Hyman Gallery, London

2010
Rediscoveries: Modern British Drawings, James Hyman Gallery, London

2009
Museum Quality. Important Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, James Hyman Gallery, London

2007
A Tribute to Sir Colin St John Wilson, James Hyman Gallery, London

2006-7
Home and Away, James Hyman Gallery, London

2006
Portraits, James Hyman Gallery, London

Drawing Breath, to mark 10 years of the Jerwood Drawing Prize, The Gallery, Wimbledon College of Art, London

National Art School Galleries, Sydney, Australia,

Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

Aberdeen Foyer/Robert Gray University

2006
Drawing Inspiration, Abbot Hall Art Gallery/Lakeland Arts Trust, Kendal (catalogue)

Portraits: Andrews, Auerbach, Bevan, Coldstream, de Francia, Freud, Kossoff, Moynihan, Paolozzi, James Hyman Gallery, London

Wilson Gift, Pallant House, Chichester

New Directions: Paintings and drawings from the 1950s and 1960s by Michael Andrews, Peter de Francia, Derrick Greaves and Robert Medley, James Hyman Gallery, London

2004
Drawn Together (five artists), Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London

1997
Modern British Art: The first hundred years, Pallant House, Chichester

2000
Carnivalesque, Hayward Gallery, London/Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, national touring exhibition, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, City Art Centre, Edinburgh

1989
Blasphemies, Ecstasies, Cries, Serpentine Gallery, London

School of London: Works on paper, Odette Gilbert Gallery, London

1987
Human Interest, Cornerhouse, Manchester and Arts Council tour

Art History: Artists look at contemporary Britain, Hayward Gallery, London

1985-6
In Their Circumstances, Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln, Ashley Gallery, Epsom, Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, Crawford Centre for the Arts, University of St Andrew's, Peter Scott Gallery, University of Lancaster, Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston-upon-Hull

1984
The Forgotten Fifties, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield and Camden Arts Centre, London

1983
Britain salutes New York, 3 British artists, Carole Robb, Peter de Francia, Thomas Newbolt, Forum Art Gallery, New York

1982
The Hayward Annual, British Drawing, Hayward Gallery, London

The Subjective Eye: New tendencies in British figurative art, University Gallery, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

1980
British Art 1940-1980 (Arts Council Collection), Hayward Gallery, London

1979-80
Narrative Painting, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

Arnolfini, Bristol, City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on- Trent, Fruit Market Gallery, Edinburgh

1977
British Painting 1952-1977, Royal Academy of Arts, London (catalogue)

1976
20th-Century Drawing, Marlborough Gallery, London

The Human Clay, Hayward Gallery, London (catalogue)

1975
Body and Soul, Peter Moores Liverpool Project 3, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

1966
Survey '66, Figurative Painters, Hampstead Art Centre, London (catalogue)

1964
Pittsburgh International, Pittsburgh, USA

1956
Looking Forward 2, South London Art Gallery

1952
Looking Forward, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London


Selected Collections:

Arts Council of Great Britain
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
British Council, New Delhi
British Museum, London
Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield
Imperial War Museum, London
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art, Prague
National Portrait Gallery, London
Pallant House, Chichester, Wilson Gift
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Tate, London
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Wimbledon School of Art

Selected Publications:

de Francia, P., Impressionism, Methuen & Co., 1956.

de Francia, P., & Leger, F., Painters On Painting - Peter De Francia On Leger's 'The Great Parade', Cassell, 1969.

de Francia, P., Peter de Francia: Fables, Maruts Press, 2002.

de Francia, P., Peter de Francia Portraits, James Hyman Fine Art, 2006.

de Francia, P., Holub, M., Peter de Francia, J. Milner & I. Milner (trans.), Frith Street Gallery, 1989.

de Francia, P., & Willett, J., Peter de Francia: Drawings 1993-96, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, 1996.

Hyman, J., Peter de Francia: After the Bombing, James Hyman Gallery, 2005.




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