Alan Reynolds (1926-2014)

Born in Suffolk, studied at the Woolwich Polytechnic from 1948-1952 and at the Royal College of Art from 1952-53. Throughout the 1950’s, he taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and began teaching at St Martin’s School of Art in 1962.

Although he originally made his reputation as  a landscape painter, the 1960’s and the influence of Europe brought about his development of a completely different abstract style. During the war he had been posted to Hanover and felt the impact of German expressionism while other British artists were focused on France. His early influences were Constable and Samuel Palmer, but he later looked to Paul Klee and Mondrian, abandoning depiction in favour of the abstract.

Reynolds has been exhibited extensively on an international scale, with representation in major permanent collections worldwide including the MoMA, New York, the Berlin National Gallery, the V&A and the Tate.


Alan Reynolds (1926-2014), January landscape, 1952-53


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30 x 42 in (76 x 106.5 cm)
Signed and dated

Collections: The Redfern Gallery where acquired by Roger Wood on February 23,1953; With Agnew’s in 1992 when acquired by a Private British collector

Exhibited: London, The Redfern Gallery Alan Reynolds 1953 (14)

Literature: Robert Melville ‘Alan Reynolds’ Kunsten Idag no.2,1953, p.6 (repr)

This picture is one of the rare instances in Alan Reynolds’ art in which figures and a narrative element play a role. In Keeper of the Dark Copse (Tate Gallery), shown in the same exhibition, figures again play a key part but human interaction in the landscape is an unusual theme for the artist.

The picture was in Reynolds’ first one man show at the Redfern Gallery in 1953. He had shown previously in group exhibitions at the gallery to considerable critical acclaim and the new exhibition almost sold out within a week. Buyers included the National Gallery of South Australia, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Reynolds writing in the exhibition catalogue saw the painter’s dilemma as ‘’a problem of solving equations tonal, linear and so on. The subject or motif must be transformed and become an organic whole. Poetry is never absent from Nature, but alone it cannot constitute a work of art. It must be reconciled with the elements of design and composition. Laying emphasis on the formal values in a work will therefore result in a degree of abstraction. This is, to me, the logical development of the motif towards its transformation into a picture’’.

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