United Kingdom

John Craxton

John Craxton

(1922 – 2009)

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United Kingdom

John Craxton

John Craxton
(1922 – 2009)

In memory of

John Craxton

(1922 – 2009)
About John
This online obituary is in memory of John Craxton. John Craxton was a Royal Academician and an English neo-Romantic painter.
The son of the composer and musician Harold Craxton, John began to paint at around age nine at Betteshanger School and - taught by the inspired art teacher Elsie Barling - had exhibited in the Bloomsbury Gallery at age ten.
He applied for Chelsea School of Art but was considered to be too young to attend nude life classes. He studied instead at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris during 1939, until the outbreak of war meant he had to complete his studies in London, at Westminster School of Art and the Central School of Art. Between 1941 and 1942, having been rejected
Continued...
About John
for military service, he attended Goldsmiths College, then toured the wilds of Pembrokeshire with Graham Sutherland in 1943. His first solo exhibition was in London in 1942 at the Swiss Cottage Café, and his first major solo show at the Leicester Galleries in 1944. His work was part of the neo-romantic revival, and his early pre-1945 work shows the influence of Samuel Palmer and Graham Sutherland, and he was also heavily influenced by friend and patron Peter Watson.
After the war he travelled to the Isles of Scilly, Switzerland, Istanbul, Spain, Italy, but mainly Greece and Crete, from 1946-1966. He moved permanently to Crete from about 1970, and switched between living in Crete and in London. The writer
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About John
Richard Olney remembered Craxton in Paris, en-route to Greece during the summer of 1951:
"Most nights, John Craxton, a young English painter, arrived to share my bed; we kept each other warm. He moved in a bucolic dreamworld, peopled with beautiful Greek goat herders. Soon he left for Greece."
In 1951 Craxton was a ballet designer for the Royal Ballet's production of Daphnis and Chloë, at a time when ballet stage design provided a haven for the neo-Romantic arts. He was able to use his first-hand experience of Greece to inform his ballet designs.
He had numerous shows of his paintings in both England and Greece. A major retrospective show was held at Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1967. His later
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About John
work became more formal, structured and decorative, although still expressing Romantic pastoral themes.
He produced the scenery and costumes for the Royal Opera House's 1968 production of Igor Stravinsky's Apollo.
His work was also reproduced in magazines such as New Writing, Horizon, and he has illustrated the books of Patrick Leigh Fermor. He produced lithographs for several anthologies edited by Geoffrey Grigson, including Visionary Poems (1944).
His younger brother Harold Antony Craxton (1918-1999) became a leading television producer and outside broadcaster. His sister Janet became a notable oboist.
He was elected Royal Academician in 1993. Craxton lived and worked in both Chania, Crete
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About John
and London.
This tribute is in memory of John Craxton, his life and his works. May he rest in peace.
Remembrance Messages
On 31st Jan 2010
Chris Boyd
wrote:
My paintings have been greatly influenced by the work of John Craxton, a remarkable painter. I wrote a dissertation on his work while at college and met several of his friends and colleagues who were all very generous with the information and images they gave me. Although I wrote to him several times, he never responded and it was only reading the obituaries that I appreciated that he didn't want anyone to write about him. It would be wonderful if the RA or
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Remembrance Messages
Chris Boyd
message continued:
Tate Britain put on a memorial retrospective of his inspiring paintings.
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John Craxton paintings
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John Craxton - tribute extract

John Craxton

This online obituary is in memory of John Craxton. John Craxton was a Royal Academician and an English neo-Romantic painter.
The son of the composer and musician Harold Craxton, John began to paint at around age nine at Betteshanger School and - taught by the inspired art teacher Elsie Barling - had exhibited in the Bloomsbury Gallery at age ten.
He applied for Chelsea School of Art but was considered to be too young to attend nude life classes. He studied instead at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris during 1939, until the outbreak of war meant he had to complete his studies in London, at Westminster School of Art and the Central School of Art. Between 1941 and 1942, having been rejected...

John Craxton is remembered by...
Chris Boyd
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Rest in peace John
I first met John at ****
My sincere condolences to all friends and family of John
My fondest memory of John was ****
John used to really enjoy ****
What I will miss the most about John is ****
John inspired me to ****
John changed my life by ****
If I had to sum up what John meant to me it would be ****
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