Peter Lanyon

A fiercely Cornish painter and artist, born in 1918. His abstract or near-abstract paintings, collages and constructions were inspired by the coastal landscape of West Cornwall. In 1959 he took up gliding, the experience of which had a powerful effect on his work: "This is why I do gliding myself, to get actually into the air itself and get a further sense of depth and space into yourself, into your own body, and then carry it through a painting." He died following a gliding accident in 1964.
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Built Up Coast (1960) by Peter Lanyon, Manchester Art Gallery

Built up Coast Peter Lanyon. You can see the coast line in his paintings but also the other smaller buildings in the foreground - the level of abstraction reflects the physical experience of being amongst the elements whilst painting.

Lulworth (1956) by Peter Lanyon. "I have been reduced to more misery and distress by such paintings than any human being can make for me." The painting shows two lovers, their heads the two mainly white spaces enclosed by black, the thicker black lines in the centre outlining their embrace. The woman is Lanyon's mistress, Susan.

Lulworth (1956) by Peter Lanyon. "I have been reduced to more misery and distress by such paintings than any human being can make for me." The painting shows two lovers, their heads the two mainly white spaces enclosed by black, the thicker black lines in the centre outlining their embrace. The woman is Lanyon's mistress, Susan.

Drift (1961) by Peter Lanyon. "I was flying yesterday and got such a drift on my plane that I nearly ended up in the sea. Somehow such a fate seems inevitable, and I am seriously thinking of flying with snorkel and flippers."

Drift by Peter Lanyon. "I was flying yesterday and got such a drift on my plane that I nearly ended up in the sea. Somehow such a fate seems inevitable, and I am seriously thinking of flying with snorkel and flippers.

Calm Air (1961) by Peter Lanyon. Turbulent air on the edge of a thermal pushes and shakes the glider, but once it breaks through the outer belt smooth rising air can lift it swiftly and effortlessly. The breach in the vertical red line may be the glider breaking through.

Calm Air by Peter Lanyon. Turbulent air on the edge of a thermal pushes…

Green Place (1959) by Peter Lanyon. "The thing that I’m interested in ...is that there’s a place or a hill or a rock, or something like that, the thing that I have experienced that I am able to make it into something new which is an equivalent of that... In the end the whole picture has to be that. It hasn’t to represent it, I don’t mean photographic representation...it has to be so charged with that experience that it is, the whole self: it will give back that experience to somebody else."

'Coast' Watercolour on paper 466 x 620 mm 1953 'Headwind' Oil on canvas 1219 x 1981 mm 1961 'Offshore' Oil on canvas 1530 x 1842 mm 1959 'Green Place' Oil on canvas 760 x 1020 mm 1959 "All Lanyon's.

Porthleven (1951) by Peter Lanyon. "...The fishing port of Porthleven from several perspectives, revealing its two harbours and clock tower. Lanyon later identified a human presence in the work, reading the shape on the left as a fisherman with lamp and his wife wrapped in a shawl on the right" [Tate Gallery]. He completed the picture very quickly, just in time for a competition.

Porthleven (1951) by Peter Lanyon. "...The fishing port of Porthleven from several perspectives, revealing its two harbours and clock tower. Lanyon later identified a human presence in the work, reading the shape on the left as a fisherman with lamp and his wife wrapped in a shawl on the right" [Tate Gallery]. He completed the picture very quickly, just in time for a competition.

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