Peter Kinley 1926-1988


Born in Vienna as Peter Schwarz, Kinley came to London as a refugee in 1938. At the age of seventeen he joined the British Army where he assisted in translations for the final handover of troops in 1946. Upon his return to England in 1947 he took British citizenship and later changed his name to Peter Kinley (a translation of his grandmother’s maiden name).


Between 1948-9 Kinley studied at the Düsseldorf Academy followed by St Martin's School of Art in 1949-53. By 1951 he was represented in Six Young Contemporaries at Gimpel Fils.


The mid ‘50’s was a period of exploration of the figure. Kinley completed a series of upright compositions consisting of nudes which were later exhibited at Gimpel Fils in 1957. His love of animals also proved to be a popular subject matter, alongside his fascination with architecture, in particular the Austrian Baroque rooftops and later the Wiltshire countryside.


The simplified and colourful tone was achieved through his use of the palette knife. He layered the paint, reflecting the style of Nicholas de Stael whom he had been influenced since seeing his London exhibition in 1953.


By the end of his career Kinley had become the principal lecturer for the Bath School of Art. His visits to India in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s and his admiration of Matisse were reflected in his later paintings. The subject matter had been reduced to their fundamental shapes but the vibrancy and thick impasto remained.