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John HOYLAND 1934 - 2011

Elected to the Royal Academy in 1991

Biography

John Hoyland was an English painter and printmaker.
 
Hoyland trained at Sheffield College of Art (1951–6) and the Royal Academy Schools (1956–60).
 
He began his artistic endeavours by painting Sheffield landscapes and abstractions from still-life subjects. He progressed to abstarction, and some of his earliest fully abstract paintings used bands of colour to explore perceptual effects such as the relationship of image to background or to create the illusion of buckling of the picture-plane. This geometric character soon gave way to sinuous lines enclosing discs of colour, and eventually to a freer and more fluid application of paint.
 
Hoyland encountered the work of Sir Anthony Caro at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963 and this deeply impressed him. The following year he visited New York and this journey brought him into contact with Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski and the influential art critic and theorist Clement Greenberg, who showed him the work of Hans Hofmann and Morris Louis. Elements from these American developments, especially from colour field painting and Post-painterly Abstraction, feature prominently in subsequent canvases by Hoyland in the use of staining techniques and acrylic paint, the interaction of unmixed colours, and an emphasis on the material weight of paint. Hoyland's work of this period was characterised by simple shapes, high-key colour and a flat picture surface.
 
He came to reject the American tendency toward reductivism, concentrating in later paintings on the approach exemplified by Hofmann and Nicolas de Staël, with varied and tactile paint surfaces and a disposition of blocks of different colours to create sensations of advancing and receding space. From the late 1960s Hoyland applied these methods also to screenprints, lithographs and later to etchings and monotypes.
 
Hoyland was appointed Professor of the Royal Academy Schools in 1999. The National Portrait Gallery holds portraits of the artist in its collection, the Tate has a substantial collection of his paintings and prints, and his artwork is held in many public and private collections.
 
In September 2010, Hoyland and five other British artists: Howard Hodgkin, John Walker, Ian Stephenson, Patrick Caulfield and R.B. Kitaj were included in an exhibition entitled 'The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art' From the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie, at the Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut, USA.