ISBN: 9781848220386 • Publication: June 28, 2012
'Jane Rye has written an unsurpassable monograph on Heath, carefully identifying every shift in his development and following the trajectory of his career, both as an artist and as a public figure.' Literary Review
DescriptionThis is the first book on British abstract painter Adrian Heath (1920-1992), who was a member of the Constructivist circle and a pioneer of abstraction in Britain in the post-war period.
Adrian Heath was born in Burma and studied art under Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn before attending the Slade School of Fine Art in 1939. In a German prison camp during the Second World War he was an active escapee and gave lessons in oil-painting to Terry Frost, who became his lifelong friend and described him as 'the bravest man I ever knew'. He returned to the Slade after the war and became a pivotal member of the circle of abstract artists around Victor Pasmore in the late 1940s, which included Mary and Kenneth Martin and Anthony Hill. The three exhibitions of art and design held in Heath's Fitzroy Street studio in 1952/3 have become legendary in the history of post-war British modernism, and he is an important link between the abstract painters of St Ives and their Constructivist London counterparts. His house and studio in Charlotte Street are celebrated as convivial meeting places for discusssion between artists of all persuasions.
Jane Rye paints a rounded portrait of Adrian Heath's life and career, alongside reproductions of a wide selection of work from his entire oeuvre, and gives a clear account of the theories and development of abstract art in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, and of the vital part Heath played in the avant-garde art world of post-war Britain.