John Piper - Painter, notably of architecture and landscape, designer of stained glass and for the theatre, and writer. Born in Epsom, Surrey in 1903. His first wife was the artist Eileen Holding, his second the writer Myfanwy Evans, and his son the artist Edward Piper. From 1921-6 he studied law and worked in his father’s solicitor’s office before studying at Richmond and Kingston Schools of Art and the Royal College of Art, 1926-9. In the mid-1930s after a visit to Paris, Piper concentrated on abstract painting, but then reverted to representational work. His first solo show, of collages and drawings, was at the London Gallery, 1938. Piper was a member of LG in 1933 and the 7& 5 Society, 1934-5. He was a prolific writer, working for The Athenaeum, New Statesman, Nation and Architectural Review, publishing his first book in 1938. With his wife he produced the influential Axis – a Quarterly Review of Contemporary “Abstract” Painting and Sculpture, 1935-7. From 1940 for about twenty years Piper had one-man shows with Leicester Galleries. His ballet designs included The Quest, 1943 and Job, 1948, as well as operas for Benjamin Britten. Piper was an official war artist in World War II. In 1942 he published his best-selling monograph English Romantic Artists. He was on several occasions a trustee of Tate Gallery, member of the Arts Council panel and a member of Royal Fine Art Commission. Stained glass window designs included Coventry Cathedral and Christchurch College Chapel, Oxford. Piper was made a Companion of Honour in 1972. Retrospectives were held at Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1979, and Tate Gallery, 1983. The Tate, Arts Council and many provincial galleries hold his work. Died at Fawley Bottom, Oxfordshire.
Caroline Wiseman Modern & Contemporary