JOE TILSONBritish b. 1928

Our painting, dating from 1956, depicts the landscape around the small town of San Quirico in the province of Sienna. He settled in the town for a period of two years after winning the Rome Prize from the Royal College of Art in 1955. At this time his painting was influenced in no small part by the work of Spanish and Italian contemporaries, and the paint is thickly applied and vigorously worked after being mixed with thickening agents - giving the painting and earthy impasto. This is a very early work in a series with the same title. As this series developed his the palette and execution would remain largely constant but the forms would become increasingly abstracted, although they would always retain their relationship to the land both in terms of colour and texture.
Exhibited: Palazzo Venezia, 1956

JOE TILSONBritish b. 1928

Tilson was born in London in 1928. Between 1944 and 1946 he worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker before serving in the R.A.F. After leaving military service, he studied at St. Martin's School of Art (1949 to 1952) and then at the Royal College of Art, London (1952 to 1955).

After winning the Gulbenkian Foundation prize in 1960, Tilson exhibited in the Paris Biennale and Carnegie International Exhibition, in Pittsburgh, in 1961, and had the first of several appearances at Venice Biennale in 1964 (alongside Roger Hilton and others). His first solo exhibition was held at the New London Gallery in 1961. Although associated with the generation of Pop Artists to emerge from the Royal College of Art, he was more diverse and experimental in his appropriation of imagery and materials. By the 1980s he returned to painting on canvas and he was increasingly inspired by the landscape around his studio in the hills near Cortona, Italy. Tilson’s work is held in many international collections including the Arts Council, Tate Gallery and MoMA, New York. His artistic career was celebrated at the Royal Academy in a retrospective exhibition in 2002 (he was elected to the RA in 1991).