Frank Avray Wilson

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Frank Avray Wilson (3 May 1914 – 1 January 2009) was a British artist and author.

He was one of the first British artists to use Tachist or action painting techniques.[1]

Early life[edit]

Wilson was born in Vacoas, Mauritius, in 1914, the son of Albert James Wilson, a sugar manufacturer, by his marriage to Anna Avray. He was educated at Brighton College and St John's College, Cambridge, where he took a degree in biology, before studying art in Paris and Norway.[2]


In 1953, Wilson met Denis Bowen, and they formed the New Vision Group and, in 1956, the New Vision Centre Gallery[3] near Marble Arch in central London.[4] Avray Wilson had his first solo show at the Obelisk Gallery in 1954, before being included in the British Council's influential La Peinture Anglaise Contemporain, which toured in France and Switzerland. He also took part in the New York Foundation's New Trends in British Painting in Rome in 1957[5] and was shortlisted for the John Moore's prize exhibition in Liverpool in 1959. His auction record of £15,000 was set at Christie's, London, on 22 March 2012, for his 1957 oil on canvas Wish.[6]

Private life[edit]

St Mary's, Stoke d'Abernon

Avray Wilson married Higford Eckbo, a Norwegian, on 28 April 1936, and they had four children: Wendy-Ann, Raymond, Jason, and Norman.[2] His daughter Wendy-Ann went on to marry an American architect, Thomas J. Holzbog, and is the mother of Arabella Holzbog.[7]

Wendy-Ann Wilson's wedding was in 1958 at St Mary's, Stoke d'Abernon, and Walter C. Holzbog later recalled that Peter Rountree was the best man, the bride's three brothers, Raymond, Jason, and Norman Wilson, were ushers, and the bridesmaids included Vibeke Advocaat, of Oslo, Norway.[8]


Avray Wilson's work can be seen in the following collections:[9]

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • 1954: Obelisk Gallery, London
  • 1956: Gallery Helios Art, Brussels
  • 1957: British Council touring exhibition
  • 1957: Metavisual, Tachist, Abstract, Redfern Gallery, London
  • 1957: Galerie Craven, Paris
  • 1958: New Trends in British Painting, Rome
  • 1958: Survey of Contemporary British Painting, Howard Wise Gallery, New York
  • 1959: John Moores Prize Exhibition, Liverpool
  • 1959: Six Young Painters, Arts Council touring exhibition
  • 1960: Art Alive, Northampton Museum and Art Gallery[11]
  • 1961: Avray Wilson, Redfern Gallery
  • 1961: Commonwealth Vision, Commonwealth Institute
  • 1986: Frank Avray Wilson, Warwick Arts Trust
  • 1995: Frank Avray Wilson, Redfern Gallery, London
  • 2010: Frank Avray Wilson - the Vital Years, Paisnel Gallery, London


Avray Wilson was the author of several books on art:

To mark his 1995 exhibition, the Redfern Gallery published Frank Avray Wilson: An exhibition of recent paintings and work from the 50s to 80s by Cathy Courtney.


  1. ^ Frank Avray Wilson biography.
  2. ^ a b "WILSON, Frank (Avray)" in Contemporary Authors (1975), p. 679
  3. ^ Tate Gallery website
  4. ^ Centre for the Aesthtic revolution website
  5. ^ Victor batte-Lay Foundation website
  6. ^ Christie's 20th Century British Art sale, March 2012
  7. ^ HOLZBOG, THOMAS JERALD, in The New York Times dated September 28, 2008, accessed 21 January 2018
  8. ^ Walter C. Holzbog, Fond Recollections (1985), p. 183
  9. ^ Your Paintings, BBC.
  10. ^ Contemporary Art Society annual report, 1980
  11. ^ Art Alive exhibition catalogue

External links[edit]