Albert Henry Thomas Irvin OBE, the English Abstract Expressionist painter, was born 21 August 1922. During World War II, he was evacuated from London, and upon returning, went to study at the Northampton School of Art between 1940 and 1941, before being conscripted into the Royal Air Force as a navigator. When the war was over, Irvin resumed his course at Goldsmiths College between 1946 and 1950, where the artist would later go onto to teach between 1962 and 1983.
Later Irvin began to experiment with the particular elements of his art practice. He changed from oil to acrylic in the early 1970s, and had a short-lived foray into lithography in 1975. The artist then began a screenprinting career in 1980 with Advanced Graphics London. The collaborative approach of screenprinting. Although this was a new and very different creative and technical outlet from painting, it still allowed Irvin to display many of his characteristic traits as an artist. He would quickly affirm his reputation as one of Britain’s foremost printmakers. Irvin would later go onto win a major Arts Council Award in 1975 and a Gulbenkian Award for printmaking in 1983.
Albert Irvin was represented by Gimpel Fils, London. He joined the gallery in 1982 and exhibited there regularly. His influences included Walter Sickert, Henri Matisse, JMW Turner, Jack Smith and Edward Middleditch. The artist was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to the visual arts.
British artist and critic Matthew Collings had this to say of Irwin on his passing: “Very sadly, Bert Irvin died this morning, he was a very sincere and energetic painter interested in colour and light, and – magnificently – kept up a sort of institution of Turner’s birthday, celebrating it religiously every year.”
English Abstract Expressionist painter Albert Henry Thomas Irvin OBE, born 21 August 1922 in London, and died 26 March 2015.
Photo: Albert Henry Thomas Irvin OBE RA (21 August 1922 – 26 March 2015) Courtesy Albert Irvin Estate