Carel Weight

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Recruit's Progress - Medical Inspection (1942) by Carel Weight

Carel Victor Morlais Weight, CH, CBE (10 September 1908 – 13 August 1997[1]) was an English painter.[2]

Weight was born in Paddington in 1908. He studied at the Hammersmith School of Art and Goldsmiths College. His first solo exhibition was held in the Cooling Gallery in 1933 and later exhibited in some major London galleries and throughout the UK.

During the Second World War, Weight served with the Royal Engineers and Army Education Corps. As an Official War Artist in 1945, he worked in Austria, Greece, and Italy. In 1947, he began teaching at the Royal College of Art, and was professor of painting there from 1957.[3] He retired in 1973. He was elected R.A. in April 1965, and senior R.A. in 1984.[4]

He was appointed a CBE in 1962 and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Edinburgh University in 1982. He was appointed a Companion of Honour in 1995. Some of his work is owned by the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Many of his paintings showed suburban settings in which unexpected human dramas occurred, some of them humorous and some frightening. Each painting's location was chosen specifically for its abstract structure; the locations were usually actual places, but the figures were imagined and "gr[e]w under the brush".[5] Weight wrote that his art was "concerned with such things as anger, love, hate, fear and loneliness", and said, "for me the acid test of a painting is: will the ordinary chap get anything out of this?"[5] He was prolific, and typically painted 50 paintings in a year.[6]

Weight was an instructor, mentor and good friend to John Bratby and Jean Cooke.[7][8]

Weight died on 13 August 1997 at the age of 88.


  1. ^ Carel Weight in the Oxford Dictionary of Art
  2. ^ "carel weight : biography". Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  3. ^ Levy, Mervyn (1986). Carel Weight. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. p. 8. ISBN 0297790110.
  4. ^ "RA Collections: Carel Weight RA". Retrieved 2015-03-13. 
  5. ^ a b Saunders, Linda (Summer 1994). 'Carel Weight', Modern Painters. 7 (2): 40–43.
  6. ^ Saunders, Linda (Autumn 1997). 'Obituary: Carel Weight', Modern Painters. p. 129.
  7. ^ "Jean Cooke". The Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group Limited). 22 August 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Jean Cooke: Painter of wit and subtlety". The Independent ( 11 August 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2014.