Caroline Wiseman Modern & Contemporary

Bridget Riley was born in London in 1931. After spending the war years with her mother, sister and aunt in Cornwall, she studied at Goldsmiths College and at the Royal College of Art and had her first solo exhibition in 1962. Her art, which has been informed by the work of artists as various as Piero della Francesca, Ingres, Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and Seurat, has always been concerned with optical effects. She painted her first completely abstract painting in 1961 and in the early ’60s worked exclusively in black and white, but after a period of transition in which she introduced sequences of coloured greys into paintings, she made her breakthrough into pure colour in 1967. The following year she was awarded the International Prize for painting at the 34th Venice Biennale, the first English contemporary painter and the first woman ever to achieve this distinction.

Her recent retrospective exhibition, Bridget Riley: Paintings from the 1960s and 1970s at the Serpentine Gallery, London, was timed to coincide with the 1999 BBC Proms season. In 2002 she co-curated, with Robert Kudielka, the exhibition Paul Klee : the Nature of Creation at the Hayward Gallery, London.