John Walker (painter)

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John Walker (born 1939) is an English painter and printmaker. He has been called "one of the standout abstract painters of the last 50 years."[1]

Education and early work[edit]

Walker studied in Birmingham at the Moseley School of Art, and later the Birmingham School of Art and Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris.[2][3] Some of his early work was inspired by abstract expressionism and post-painterly abstraction, and often combined apparently three-dimensional shapes with "flatter" elements. These pieces are usually rendered in acrylic paint.


In the early 1970s, Walker made a series of large Blackboard Pieces using chalk first exhibited at the opening of Ikon Gallery, in Birmingham Shopping Centre, Birmingham in 1972 and the Juggernaut works which also use dry pigment. From the late 1970s, his work marked allusions to earlier painters, such as Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet and Henri Matisse, either through the quoting of a pictorial motif, or the use of a particular technique [citation needed]. Also during this time, he began to use oil paint more in his work [citation needed]. His paintings of the 1970s are also notable for what has come to be termed canvas collage – the application of glued-on, separately painted patches of canvas to the main canvas (see the external link below for an example and image) [citation needed].

After spending some time in Australia, Walker got a position at the Victoria College of the Arts in Melbourne.[4] He produced the Oceania series around this time which incorporates elements of native Oceanic art.

Walker taught painting and was the head of the graduate painting program at Boston University.[5][6]

Walker won the 1976 John Moores Painting Prize[7] and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1985.[8]

Exhibitions and collections[edit]

In September 2010, Walker and five other British artists including Howard Hodgkin, John Hoyland, Ian Stephenson, Patrick Caulfield and R.B. Kitaj were included in an exhibition entitled The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art From the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie, at the Yale Center for British Art.[9][10]

Walker has a 2008 Landscape Painting on display at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. in the Modern Section [citation needed]. He also has work in the following public collections: Ackland Art Museum [citation needed], The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill[citation needed]; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Australia [citation needed]; The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois [citation needed]; Arts Council, England[citation needed]; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England[citation needed]; The British Museum, London, England [citation needed]; City Art Gallery, Leeds Museums and Galleries, England[citation needed]; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio[citation needed]; Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine[citation needed]; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts[citation needed]; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York[citation needed]; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.[citation needed]; Imperial War Museum, London, England[citation needed]; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin [citation needed]; Iziko Museum of Cape Town, South Africa[citation needed]; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca [citation needed], New York; The Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman[citation needed]; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska[citation needed]; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York[citation needed]; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, England; MIT-List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts[citation needed]; Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany[citation needed]; Museum Neuhaus—Sammlung Liaunig, Austria[citation needed]; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois[citation needed]; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles[citation needed]; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts[citation needed]; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Brooklyn College Library, New York, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.[citation needed]; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra[citation needed]; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York[citation needed]; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.[citation needed]; Portland Museum of Art, Maine [citation needed]; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Gallery, Edinburgh [citation needed]; Southampton City Art Gallery, England [citation needed]; Tate Gallery, London, England [citation needed]; Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland [citation needed]; The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor [citation needed]; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England [citation needed]; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond[citation needed]; The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England[citation needed]; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York[citation needed]; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut [citation needed].

In 2010, Walker had a solo exhibition at Tsinghua University in Beijing.[11][12]

Walker is represented by the Alexandre Gallery in New York City.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McQuaid, Cate (3 December 2014). "BU's abstract ace shows his stripes". Boston Globe.
  2. ^ Grimley, Terry (22 May 2003). "Art school draws on past strengths". The Birmingham Post. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  3. ^ "John Walker » College of Fine Arts | Boston University". Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  4. ^ Postel, Louis (18 February 2011). "Pigments of Imagination". New England Home Magazine. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  5. ^ Einspruch, Franklin (14 September 2022). "Abstract Romanticism on the Atlantic". The New Criterion. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  6. ^ "MFA Painting | College of Fine Arts". Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  7. ^ John Moores Prize Archived 15 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Tate. "Turner Prize 1985 artists: John Walker". Tate. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  9. ^ Channeling American Abstraction, Karen Wilkin, Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 October 2010
  10. ^ NY Times, exhibition review. Retrieved 15 December 2010
  11. ^ "VISUAL ART CENTER-AADTHU". Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  12. ^ "Making a Case for the Artist Abroad | BU Today". Boston University. Retrieved 22 May 2023.

External links[edit]