James HULL

September 20, 2019 9:06 am Published by

Hull was amongst the most innovative artists of the Post War period. He had already developed a taste for painting as a child but took it up seriously after the Second World War.

Having spent the period 1939-46 in army service, Hull’s earliest paintings were still figurative and reflected the anguish and suffering of the war years. As the figures gradually began to disappear towards the end of 40’s, he started producing abstract compositions which nevertheless retained the linearity and angular geometry of his earlier works. His first one-man-show was sponsored by Herbert Read and was held at the Gallery of the Arts at Twenty Brook Street. He was one of the founding member artists of Gimpel Fils Gallery, which became in the Post War years a nucleus for Avant Garde art. Various one-man shows were organized for him there and he was included in numerous group shows, amongst them the 1951 British Abstract Art exhibition, which featured Hilton, Hepworth, Gear, Frost, Lanyon, Pasmore and Paolozzi. There followed a most prolific period for the artist who began exhibitions in Paris, Rome and New York.

In the 50’s Hull developed an interest for industrial and domestic design. He was sought after as a consultant and designer of exhibition centres, offices, stores and theatrical stages. His commissions included murals and displays for the Festival of Britain in 1951, the “This is Tomorrow” show at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1956, the Daily Mirror Building from 1960-70 and he received projects in Cairo, Spain, Nigeria and the United States.

In the early 70’s, namely between 1971 and 1973 whilst he was living in Ibiza and Tunisia, Hull’s interest in the applied arts extended to jewelry design. In the 1980’s however he began once more to concentrate on painting. He had been distant from the British art scene for many years but a show was soon organized for him at the Strickland Gallery in London, 1986. Two more exhibitions followed in 1989, the first at the Adrienne Resnick Gallery, London and the second at Whitford and Hughes, London, showing his most recent works. His compositions remained abstract but showed a much freer and fluid approach to both form and colour.

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