Victor Pasmore

Biography of Victor Pasmore

Known as the last surviving great British artist of his generation, Victor Pasmore was a true pioneer in the development of abstract art, both in Britain and worldwide. Born to a wealthy family in 1908 in Surrey, England, Pasmore began showing talent for painting from an early age. He attended Harrow School, where he studied 20th century art, and developed a particular taste for the styles of Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Pierre Bonnard. He moved to London in 1927 where he immersed himself in the art world by attending evening classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, making habitual visits to the TATE, and frequenting London art dealers.


Victor Pasmore’s early works consisted of traditional landscapes and still-lives. He often chose to depict Thames-side gardens in mist or snow, and drew inspiration from shifting viewpoints and exploring post-impressionist styles like pointillism. Come the end of World War II Pasmore changed his work radically, making a switch to abstract art. His early abstract works were rich and glowing in color, and consisted of landscape depictions using lyrical square and spiral motifs. As the years passed, his paintings became increasingly non-representational, characterized by an elegant simplicity and a more limited color palette. In the 1960’s Pasmore became a key figure in the revival of Constructivism in British art, as he started making reliefs using painted plywood to create large, architectural scale structure.


Many exhibitions and retrospectives have been dedicated to Victor Pasmore throughout his lifetime and after his death in 1998. Today his work can be found in the collections of the Tate Britain and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Yale Center for British Art and numerous other galleries throughout Britain. Pasmore represented Britain at the 1961 Venice Biennale, and also participated in documenta II 1959 in Kassel.

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