Victor Pasmore, CH CBE RA (1908-1998)

Victor Pasmore was a British artist and architect.

Following the death of his father in 1927, he was forced to take an administrative job at London County Council. During this time Pasmore studied painting part-time at the Central School of Art. Around 1938, the patronage of Kenneth Clark enabled Pasmore to become a full-time artist for the first time. He was working in Fitzroy Street with William Coldstream and Claude Rogers before moving to the studio in the Euston Road, after which their eponymous art movement is known. The Euston Road School concentrated on representational painting, based on naturalism and realism. Many of the artists were politically to the left and their choice of technique and subject matter reflected a desire to be relevant and understandable to a wider public. The movement did not survive the onset of war with Pasmore being arrested and imprisoned as a conscientious objector.

Inspired by the artists Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee, Pasmore pioneered the development of abstract art in Britain in the 1940s and 1950s. He was influenced by the work of Ben Nicholson and other artists associated with Circle and the revival of Constructivism in Britain after the war. From 1947 he developed a purely abstract style.

Pasmore represented Britain at the 1961 Venice Biennale, was participating artist at the Documenta II 1959 in Kassel and was a trustee of the Tate Gallery, donating a number of works to the collection. He gave a lecture on J M W Turner as ‘first of the moderns’ to the Turner Society, of which he was elected a vice president in 1975.

Since 1965, Pasmore and his wife, the artist Wendy Blood, spent a great deal of time on the island of Malta, where he died in 1998.