British painter, born on the island of Tenerife to an Irish father (a fruit-broker) and a Spanish mother. He moved to England at the age of eight and travelled widely before studying at the *Slade School, 1928–31. His work was varied and fluctuated between figuration and abstraction. In the early 1930s he was one of the most radical of British abstract painters (see Objective Abstractionists), but he then turned to figurative art, and was associated with the *Euston Road School, founded in 1937, the fountainhead of a long-lived soberly realistic strain in British painting. However, his own style was more influenced by *Impressionism, especially Manet, than by the more methodical work of William *Coldstream and Graham *Bell. After being invalided out of the army, he became an *Official War Artist in 1943, concentrating on the everyday life of the troops.
Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)