Hugo Grenville first exhibited in London at the Chelsea Arts Society at the age of 15, although it took him another 14 years to become a full time painter. Grenville's career as a painter began in earnest in the late 1980’s after time spent as an Officer in the Coldstream Guards serving as an officer in Northern Ireland and West Africa.
Describing himself as essentially ...a colorist - his palette is bright and jaunty. Lemon yellow, violet, mauve and pale blue are colours which appear regularly in his paintings reflecting an interest and influence in the fauvists and especially Matisse. In their exploration of color harmony, and in their celebration of pattern making, they celebrate ordinary subjects in a joyous manner.
"I am inspired to paint what I see all around me: the interior of my home, my garden, the view of the street, the decorative objects in my studio, the vases of flowers sitting on studio tables. What I am really painting is the feelings that I associate with these places, and with these objects, and how the light and colour of their surfaces affects my mood, and sometimes sets off memories.
The greatest challenge for a painter is to remember that one must paint the idea, and not the actual objects that comprise the subject, something I haven’t always found especially easy. The breakthrough for me, which came after a terrible year (I think it was 2002) at the end of which I decided to burn all my work on a grand bonfire, was when I discovered how to paint what I felt, rather than what I saw literally, to paint the idea, not the object, to express emotion in colour, rather than describe a surface."
Hugo Grenville has had 21 solo shows in London, New York and Palm Beach and has forged an enviable reputation as one of the country’s leading colourist painters. This has resulted in invitations to lecture and teach from institutions such as Falmouth School of Art and the V & A Museum. His fabric designs were included in the Liberty’s Spring/Summer Collection of 2011, and he was short listed for the Threadneedle Prize in 2013. In 2016, Hugo was invited to have a one man show at Studio 2000, Holland.
During his career he has painted many portraits of leading figures, including the late Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Runcie, and the counter-tenor Michael Chance in the role of Orpheus at the ENO; he was an Official War Artist in Bosnia in 1995, and has been commissioned by a number of institutions including the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, Edinburgh City Council and The China Club, Hong Kong.
Collections Work is represented in corporate, institutional and private collections in UK, USA, Canada, France, Hong Kong and Australia, including: