Peter de Francia, the centenary of whose birth is in 2021, 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 Gallery 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 Gallery.