Albert Irvin 1922-2015

Overview

Albert Irvin lived and worked in London having trained at Northampton School of Art in 1940. It was whilst at Northampton that Irvin befriended Walter Hussey, the vicar of St Matthew’s Church. Hussey was a great promoter of modern art, commissioning Moore’s Madonna and Child (1943-44), and encouraged Irvin to pursue his artistic career. However, due to the outbreak of war, Irvin’s studies ended prematurely and in 1941 he joined the RAF.

In 1946, Irvin completed his training at Goldsmith’s College where he was awarded a National Diploma in Design. He returned in 1962 to teach art; a position he held for over 20 years. 

Irvin’s early works were a combination of abstraction and figuration. By the mid 1950’s, following an inspiring meeting with Peter Lanyon, he shifted focus to purely non-representational painting.

From the 1960’s Irvin worked on large canvases with broad strokes of colour. Over time the paintings became smaller and intensified in colour. By the 1970’s he experimented with screen-printing and lithography, working with Advanced Graphics London in the 1980’s.

Success led to various mixed and solo exhibitions and in 1990 the Serpentine held a major retrospective. In 1998 Irvin was elected a Royal Academician. His canvases still hold a sense of restless energy intensified by the vibrancy of his palette.

Works