John Piper

John Egerton Christmas Piper, was born in Epsom in 1903, the son of a wealthy solicitor. Piper's brothers worked in the business and it was expected that John would work there also, but Piper wanted to pursue a career as an artist. Piper went to the Royal College of Art in south Kensington. His talent was recognised but he was turned down because he did not have enough experience of drawing the nude. The rebuff was softened by being told to go to the Richmond School of Art, and to try again later. With the help of Richmond Art School after one year he was accepted into the Royal College. Piper made his money by writing Art reviews and columns for magazines,his paintings were not selling at the time. John Piper had been asked to join a group of artists that called themselves "the Seven and Five" and to exhibit with them. Included in the group were Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, Ivon Hitchens, Frances Hodgkins , Barbara Hepworth, and Winifred Nicholson. Piper was now part of an elite English movement in modern painting. Around about this time World war II broke out and everything was rationed, so it must have been hard to get hold of luxury items such as canvas, oil paints, brushes, paper and also there would have been no spare money to be spent on buying art. The Government had set up "The war artists scheme" In this scheme artists were paid to paint, probably by the hour or by the canvas on a 9-5 basis. Murals would have been painted and perhaps the artist's work would have been used for propaganda in some cases, or to boost Morale. Piper was involved in this scheme as was Henry Moore and nearly every artist that had not signed up. Some obviously did go to the frontline to see first hand what was going on but others recorded the events at home. John Pipers paintings were mainly of derelict buildings or buildings that he anticipated getting bombed. It was from this time that Piper found his favourite motif of devastated architecture. Colour, texture and perspective heighten the dramatic effect of his romantic topographies, which have wide appeal. Piper died in 1992.

Grug Glas, Swansea
Lithograph signed Curwen studio 1966
Limited edition 49 of 75

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