John Craxton, a London-born painter and designer, began to paint around the age of nine at Betteshanger School. At the age of ten he had paintings exhibited in school groups at the Bloomsbury Gallery. Deemed too young to attend life drawing classes in London, moved to Paris in 1939, where studied at L’Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. The following year he returned to London to study at the Westminster School of Art where studied under P F Millard and Eric Schilsky. At the beginning of World War II Craxton was rejected from military duty and studied art at Goldsmith College under Clive Gardiner. Around this time, he befriended Graham Sutherland and Lucien Freud. Being greatly influenced by their art Craxton become one of the main figures of the Neo-Romantic movement.
His first solo exhibition was held at the Leicester Galleries in 1944. In 1946, together with Lucien Freud, Craxton travelled to Greece. This trip was to greatly influence his further career as he fell in love with the Greek landscape and light. He soon found a home in Crete, where he still maintains residency until today. In 1947, Craxton and Freud held a joint exhibition at the London Gallery. In 1951 and 1960, he designed sets and costumes for the Royal Ballet Theatre. Between 1971 and 1974 worked on Landscape the Cottrell Memorial Tapestry for the McRobert Centre at Stirling University.
Through the years his artistic endeavours have transitioned from Romanticism, Neo-Romanticism, and Cubism. He has been represented in a major retrospective show at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1967. He was elected Royal Academician in 1993. Craxton now, still lives between Crete and London.
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