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Terry Frost RA Artist Biography

Sir Terry Frost was one of Britain's most successful and highly acclaimed artists of the Twentieth Century. His colourful and exuberant paintings gave a popular dimension to the landscape-orientated abstract art produced by the post-war St Ives artist colony. Born in Leamington Spa in 1915, Terry Frost left school at the age of 14 and worked at Curry's Cycle shop and then Armstrong Whitworth in Coventry, until the outbreak of war. He served in countries as diverse as Palestine and Greece, before being captured in 1941.

Terry Frost only really started painting whilst being held as a prisoner of war in Germany in 1943. A fellow inmate, the Slade-trained painter Adrian Heath, helped him discover his artistic talent during the four years he spent as a Prisoner of War. "In POW camps, I had a tremendous spiritual experience, a more aware or heightened perception during starvation, and I honestly do not think that awakening has ever left me", said Frost. On his return to England, he studied at the St. Ives School or Art followed by the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, enjoying the flourishing artistic scenes of London and St Ives. In 1945, he married Kathleen Clarke. His early work was figurative; it was the influence of Victor Pasmore at Camberwell and Ben Nicholson that led Terry Frost to go onto paint his first abstract piece in 1949.

Terry Frost worked as Barbara Hepworth's assistant in 1951 - and had his first solo exhibition in London at the Leicester Galleries in 1952. By the late 1950's, he had become established as a leading abstract painter, exhibiting regularly in London and throughout the world. From the mid 1950's, he was also involved in academia teaching at various UK universities. In 1960, he had his first solo show in New York at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, whilst there he met some of the leading American Abstract Expressionists, this experience encouraged him to start painting on a much larger scale.

He was elected a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts in 1992 and received a knighthood in 1998. A retrospective of his work was held at the Royal Academy in 2000. He died on 1st September 2003.

Terry Frost's work reflects his gratitude and joie de vivre at having survived wartime incarceration; it is full of colour, light and the pleasure of existence 'a sense of delight in front of nature'. Frost took his inspiration from nature; the sun, moon, water, boats and the female form are recurring motifs abstracted into sensuous circles and curves. These shapes are often coloured in dramatic blues, reds, oranges, yellows and blacks. Frost believed that the interplay of colour and shape could realise an event or image more successfully than imitation. He combined strict formal discipline with great expressive freedom and a natural sureness of touch.

"Sometimes I get the strength to have complete confidence in myself and every shape. Other times I find the shapes can be associative, but only after the painting. I can't stand them being associative before, that puts me right off". Terry Frost

More art prints from Terry Frost RA

Development of a Square (Orange) By Terry Frost RA
Lizard Black II By Terry Frost RA
Development of a Square (Red) By Terry Frost RA
Red and Black Solid (1967-8) By Terry Frost RA
Carlyon Sunshine By Terry Frost RA
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