Artist Biography - Carel Weight

Born in Paddington, London in 1908, Weight studied at Hammersmith College of Art from 1926-8. Although he then won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art (RCA), he was unable to afford the fees so continued his study at Hammersmith college until 1930. During this period, he met Ruskin Spear, who became a lifelong friend and inspiration.

Later, with the encouragement
...of James Bateman, Weight started studying at Goldsmiths' College (1931-3), allowing scope for the creation of innovative compositions which he is renowned for.

His profession as both a teacher at Beckenham School of Art (1932-9) and his placement in London's art scene made him a prominent character during this period. His place within London's art scene gained him exhibitions with the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists.

In 1932 Weight began teaching. Then after enlistment in 1942, and serving as an official war artist from 1945-6, he joined the staff at the RCA in 1947. Ten years later he was appointed Professor of Painting, a post he held from 1957-73. During this period of teaching, world famous artists studied under his concerning eye, including Peter Blake and David Hockney.

Despite being a solitary figure, he maintained close and vibrant friendships during his life with many artists, including the Ruskin Spear, Stanley Spencer, Mary Fedden and L S Lowry.

His work is characterised by his nervy edge of anticipation and the depiction of mundane everyday scenes, laden with meaning beyond the ordinary. His subject matter was the abandoned urban terrain, inhabited by detached, isolated figures. While Weight’s paintings are characterised by strange landscapes and often exaggerated and distorted forms, his work is firmly rooted in personal experience and universal human emotions:

“My art is concerned with such things as anger, love, hate, fear and loneliness emphasised by the setting in which the drama is played.”

His work captured the mood of the era, characterised by melancholia. This is depicted through the unknowing presences in his ghost paintings, set in the haunting urban settings around London. The artists work remained thematically complex whilst he continued to develop new techniques throughout his career.

Weight death in 1997, resulted in the artist leaving behind a huge body of British twentieth century art. He also left his lasting legacy, which lives through the contemporary artists he taught. Examples of his work can be found in numerous high profile public and private collections around the world, including the Tate and The Victoria and Albert Museum.

Due to his success and placement within art histories canon his work is highly collectable.
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