© estate of Victor Pasmore. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Manchester Art Gallery
(b Chelsham, Surrey, 3 Dec. 1908; d Gudja, Malta, 23 Jan. 1998). British painter, printmaker, and maker of constructions who is unusual in having achieved eminence as both a figurative and an abstract artist. After early experiments with abstraction he reverted to naturalistic painting, and in 1937 he combined with William Coldstream and Claude Rogers in forming the Euston Road School. Characteristic of his work at this time and in the early 1940s are some splendid female nudes and lyrically sensitive Thames-side landscapes that have been likened to those of Whistler (Chiswick Reach, 1943, NG, Ottawa).
In the late 1940s he underwent a dramatic conversion to pure abstract art, and by the early 1950s he had developed a personal style of geometrical abstraction. As well as paintings he made abstract reliefs, partly under the influence of Ben Nicholson. His earlier reliefs had a hand-made quality but later, in using transparent perspex, he gave them the impersonal precision and finish of machine products. Through work in this vein he came to be regarded as one of the leaders of Constructivism in Britain. Later paintings are less austere and more organic. Pasmore was an influential teacher, notably at King's College, Newcastle upon Tyne (now Newcastle University), where he was head of the painting department, 1954–61. The ‘basic design’ course he taught there (based on Bauhaus ideas) spread to many British art schools. He was also much concerned with bringing abstract art to the general public, notably as consulting director of urban design (1955–77) for the south-west area of Peterlee New Town, County Durham. His most personal contribution there is the Apollo Pavilion (1963–70), which he described as ‘an architecture and sculpture of purely abstract form’. In his later career Pasmore was also a prolific printmaker. He won many honours and Kenneth Clark described him as ‘one of the two or three most talented English painters of this century’.
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)