Artists That Inspire

Patrick Heron

Patrick Heron CBE (30 January 1920 – 20 March 1999) was a British abstract and figurative artist, critic, writer, and polemicist, who lived in Zennor, Cornwall. He was recognised as one of the leading painters of his generation. Influenced by Cézanne, Matisse, Braque and Bonnard, He first saw the paintings of Cézanne at an exhibition at the National Gallery in 1933, an influence which continued throughout his career. Heron made a significant contribution to the dissemination of modernist ideas of painting through his critical writing and primarily his art.

Heron’s artworks are most noted for his exploration and use of colour and light. He is known for both his early figurative work and non-figurative works, which over the years looked to explore further the idea of making all areas of the painting of equal importance. Born 30 January 1920 at Headingley, Leeds in Yorkshire, Patrick Heron was the eldest child of Thomas Milner Heron and Eulalie Mabel. When Patrick Heron was five and his brother Michael was 4 the family moved to Cornwall, where Tom joined Alec Walker at Cryséde to manage and expand the business from artist-designed woodblock prints on silk to include garment-making and retail. The whole family, now four children, moved again in 1929 to Welwyn Garden City where Tom established Cresta Silks. Notable designers included Edward McKnight Kauffer and Wells Coates, Paul Nash and Cedric Morris worked with Cresta, and Patrick also created fabric designs for the firm from his teenage years. At school, Patrick Heron met his future wife, Delia, daughter of Celia and Richard Reiss, a director of the company in Welwyn Garden City.

John Singer Sargeant

By the time of his death he was dismissed as an anachronism, a relic of the Gilded Age and out of step with the artistic sentiments of post-World War I Europe. Elizabeth Prettejohn suggests that the decline of Sargent’s reputation was due partly to the rise of anti-Semitism, and the resultant intolerance of ‘celebrations of Jewish prosperity.’ It has been suggested that the exotic qualities inherent in his work appealed to the sympathies of the Jewish clients whom he painted from the 1890s on.

Sargent’s early enthusiasm was for landscapes, not portraiture, as evidenced by his voluminous sketches full of mountains, seascapes, and buildings. Carolus-Duran’s expertise in portraiture finally influenced Sargent in that direction. Commissions for history paintings were still considered more prestigious, but were much harder to get. Portrait painting, on the other hand, was the best way of promoting an art career, getting exhibited in the Salon, and gaining commissions to earn a livelihood.

Part of Sargent’s devaluation is also attributed to his expatriate life, which made him seem less American at a time when “authentic” socially conscious American art, as exemplified by the Stieglitz circle and by the Ashcan School, was on the ascent. He died in 1925 aged 69. After such a long period of critical disfavor, Sargent’s reputation has increased steadily since the 1950s.] In the 1960s, a revival of Victorian art and new scholarship directed at Sargent strengthened his reputation. In a TIME magazine article from the 1980s, critic Robert Hughes praised Sargent as “the unrivaled recorder of male power and female beauty in a day that, like ours, paid excessive court to both.