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William GEAR 1915 - 1997

Biography

William Gear, a prominent Scottish abstract painter, was born in Methil, Fifeshire in Scotland.
 
He studied at the Edinburgh College of Arts (ECA) from 1932-6, and furthered his studies for another year at Edinburgh University.
 
Immediately after college he travelled to Europe and studied with the prominent cubist painter Férnand Leger in Paris.
 
He served in the Royal Corps of Signals during WWII, although he still found time for painting & exhibiting. After the war, between in 1946-7 he served as officer in charge of security of art works in Lower Saxony (Control Commission, Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section). He had a studio in the castle of Celle and made friends with the painter Karl Otto Götz. He also worked at this time mounting exhibits for the Allies.
 
He lived in Paris between 1947-50 and developed a strong interest in abstract style based on a framework of black outlines. He joined the CoBrA group of Northern European expressionist artists in 1948 who shared a common interest in abstract and folk art. Gear also became a leading member of L`Ecole de Paris. He experimented with action painting and other techniques which were becoming prevalent at this time due to the influence of the American Abstract Expressionists.
 
He returned to the UK in 1950, becoming curator of the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, before becoming Head of Fine Art at Birmingham College of Art in 1964.
 
In 1966 he was honoured as a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. The following year he was awarded the David Cargill Award by the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.
 
He contributed to major shows at The Scottish Gallery including ‘The Modern Spirit in Scottish Painting’ in 1985 when he had to use his Birmingham City bus pass to prove his identity to a sceptical Edinburgh lady.
 
He died in Birmingham in 1967.