Timothy Hyman

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Timothy Hyman RA (born 1946) is a British figurative painter, art writer and curator. He has published monographs on both Sienese Painting and on Pierre Bonnard, as well as most recently The World New Made: Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century. He has written extensively on art and film, has been a regular contributor to Times Literary Supplement and has curated exhibitions at the Tate, ICA and Hayward galleries. Hyman is a portraitist, but is best known for his narrative renditions of London. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Beckmann and Bonnard, as well as Lorenzetti and Brueghel, he explores his personal relationship, both real and mythological, with the city where he lives and works. He employs vivid colours, shifting scale and perspectives, to create visionary works. He was elected an RA in 2011.

Life and career[edit]

Hyman was born in Hove, Sussex in 1946. He attended the Slade School of Fine Art between 1963 and 1967. Since 1980 he has had nine London solo exhibitions. His earliest publications were on film ( as an Anatomy of Melancholy, Sight and Sound, 1974) and on literature (The Modus Vivendi of John Cowper Powys, 1972). He began to publish articles on painting in the mid-seventies in The London Magazine,[1] and was a contributing editor to Artscribe.[2] In 1979, he curated the controversial exhibition Narrative Paintings at the ICA in London and the Arnolfini in Bristol.[3] In 1980 and 1982, he was a Visiting Professor in Baroda, (Vadodara) India, and completed several extensive British Council lecture tours. Timothy Hyman has been Artist in Residence at Lincoln Cathedral, Sandown Racecourse and, most recently, at Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 2015. Since 1982, he has been married to the author Judith Ravenscroft. He lives in North London.

Hyman has written on the work of many artists including Pierre Bonnard and the painters of the Sienese School as well as more contemporary artists, such as Howard Hodgkin[4] R.B. Kitaj and the Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar[5] Since 1990, he has been a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and has written on a variety of subjects including: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner[6] Henry Darger[7] and German Romanticism.[8] Hyman has also written extensively on film, including articles on Fellini,[9] Andrei Tarkovsky[10] and Derek Jarman[11] In 1998, his monograph on Bonnard (judged by The New Criterion as 'by far the best thing ever written about the painter') was published by Thames and Hudson, and, in the same year, his book on Bhupen Khakhar was published in India. In 2003 his widely admired monograph Sienese Painting (Thames and Hudson) centred on Ambrogio Lorenzetti and other artists of the fourteenth and fifteenth century, and was described in the TLS as 'an unimprovable union of exceptionally acute looking, magical prose, and authoritative scholarship'. In 2016 Thames and Hudson published The World New Made: Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century, described by Svetlana Alpers as 'exhilarating to read'; and by Christopher Allen as 'a delight, deeply but lightly erudite, intimate, written with exquisite intelligence.' According to Linda Nochlin it 'constructs a new and convincing scenario for the history of twentieth century painting...wonderfully concrete in detail and wide-ranging in scope.'

Hyman and Roger Malbert curated the Hayward Gallery touring exhibition Carnivalesque[12] in 2000.

In 2001, along with the cultural historian Patrick Wright, Hyman was lead curator for the acclaimed Stanley Spencer retrospective at Tate Britain.[13] He also co-curated the major exhibition British Vision[1] at the Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, in 2007-8.

Hyman is also well known for his lectures that investigate the tangents and marginalia of art history. He has been a visiting lecturer in art at the Slade School of Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art, Central St. Martins and The Royal College of Art for many years as well as lecturing at The Working Men's College, The Tate, the National Gallery, London and MOMA in New York.


  • 1979 Narrative Paintings. Institute of Contemporary Art, London & Arnolfini, Bristol.
  • 1981/83/85 Blond Fine Art, London
  • 1982/83/86/88 Whitechapel Open, London.
  • 1984 A Singular Vision. South London Art Gallery, London.
  • 1985 Human Interest. Cornerhouse, Manchester.
  • 1986 Self Portrait. Bath Festival & touring.
  • 1988 The Subjective City. Barbican Art Gallery, London.
  • 1991 EASTinternational, Norwich.
  • 1993 Castlefield Gallery Manchester
  • 1994 Chemould, Bombay, India
  • 1997 Contemporary British Figurative Painting. Flowers East, London.
  • 2000 Mid River: Paintings and Drawings of a Decade, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London
  • 2006 The Man Inscribed with London, curated by Nurit David, Gallery of the Artists' Studios, Tel Aviv
  • 2009 The Man Inscribed with London, Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London

Awards and prizes[edit]


  • Bonnard, Thames & Hudson, 1998 ISBN 978-0-500-20310-1
  • Bhupen Khakhar, Chemould Publications and Mapin Publishing, 1998, ISBN 81-85822-55-7
  • Carnivalesque Timothy Hyman, Roger Malbert & Malcolm Jones. Published by National Touring Exhibitions (Hayward Gallery).2001 ISBN 978-1-85332-209-9
  • Stanley Spencer Tate Publishing. London. 2001. ISBN 978-1-85437-377-9
  • Sienese Painting, Thames & Hudson, 2003. ISBN 0-500-20372-5.
  • Fifty Drawings, Lenz Books. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9564760-4-3.
  • The World New Made: Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century, Thames and Hudson, 2016. ISBN 978-0-500-23945-2


  1. ^ "RB Kitaj: Avatar of Ezra", The London Magazine, September 1977
  2. ^ "The Subject Matter of Cezanne's Bathers", Artscribe, June Issue, 1978
  3. ^ Narrative Paintings. Catalogue essay, Arnolfini. 1979
  4. ^ "Howard Hodgkin". Studio International magazine. May–June 1975
  5. ^ "Indian Views". (including sections on Rabindranath Tagore, Behari Mukerjee & Bhupen Khakhar) The London Magazine, July 1979
  6. ^ "Kirchner's Dance", Times Literary Supplement, No. 5234, July 2003
  7. ^ "Henry Darger & Adolf Wölfli", Times Literary Supplement, 30 October 1998
  8. ^ "Philosophy & Reverie: the contemplative ironies of German Romantic Art" Times Literary Supplement, No. 4769, August 1994
  9. ^ "8½ as an Anatomy of Melancholy", Sight & Sound magazine, Summer 1974. Reprinted in Federico Fellini: Essays in Criticism (edited by Peter Bondanella). Oxford University Press. 1978. ISBN 978-0-19-502273-5
  10. ^ "Tarkovsky's Solaris". Film Quarterly, Spring 1976
  11. ^ "Interview with Derek Jarman", The London Magazine, October 1980
  12. ^ Carnivalesque, Review by Merlin James, Burlington Magazine, August 2001, Number 1181, Volume 143
  13. ^ "Stanley Spencer retrospective at Tate Britain", review by Peter Campbell, London Review of Books, 19 April 2001, Volume 23. No.8

External links[edit]