Robyn Denny British Abstract Painter, Printmaker And Designer Dies


Robyn Denny (b.1930) the British abstract painter, printmaker, and designer has died age 84 .Denny was born in Abinger, Surrey, and after studying at Central St Martin’s School of Art he attended the Royal College of Art from 1951–7. He was among the young British painters influenced by the scale and energy of  New York Abstract Expressionist painting especially that of the painter Robert Motherwell. His early paintings combined gestural handling with lettering: like the Pop artists for the 1960s. Denny was fascinated by the qualities of urban space. In 1959, alongside Richard Smith and Ralph Rumney (1934–2002), a painter with connections to the Situationist International, he mounted ‘Place’ at the (ICA) Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The paintings were organised in a kind of maze which forced the viewer up close against them. In 1960 he helped organize the first *‘Situation’ exhibition, a landmark in British abstract art.

One of the pictures he showed was Baby is Three (1960, Tate), which is typical of the calm, meditational character of his work. The title derives from a science fiction story. In his work of the early 1960s he used very soft, muted colours applied with an immaculate flat finish within a subtle geometrical framework which tends to suggest doorways or other architectural features. Later his brushwork became more painterly. He has received many public commissions, including a series of vitreous enamel panels at Embankment Underground Station in London. Further Reading D. A. Mellor, The Art of Robyn Denny (2002).

In addition to being the youngest artist to have a retrospective at the Tate (in 1973), his work is represented in public collections worldwide, including the Tate, the V&A and the MoMA, New York.

Photo: Embankment Tube Station Mural by Robyn Denny © Artlyst


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