ABOUT FIFTIES ART
We are one of the leading specialists in affordable mid-century art, and you’ll find here a carefully selected range of original and authentic pictures and prints with some ceramics, fabrics, books and home accessories. This collection is based exclusively on what appeals to me – and which will hopefully appeal to you.
We also specialise in the work of John Piper, one of the most creative, imaginative and versatile artists of the twentieth century, I simply love his work.
It all began when I bought a painting from 1959 with the unpromising title ‘Railway Sidings, Bradford’. This inspired an exploration of mid-century art and design, and a growing appreciation of its distinctive quality. Take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.
Interest in John Piper arose from his bold lithographs from the 1950s, and now extends to a wide selection of original artworks, prints and fabrics.
New items are added regularly, and can be found under ‘New Stock’ on ‘The Collection’ page.
We’re always interested in making new purchases – especially of John Piper’s work – so please get in touch if you’ve anything to offer.
Why the fifties?
The 1950s represented a period of adjustment from war to peace, through austerity to normality. British artists played an important role in recording war – but how would they respond to peace? British art from the fifties tends to be associated with the innovation of abstraction through for example, the works of Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland. But this is only part of the story. Closer examination of art and design from the period identifies continuity and change across a broader range of work:
- Firstly, through a growing interest in printmaking – with the availability of good quality paper and innovations in lithography, not least bigger machines, making original prints more widely available – such as those by Charles Bartlett, Henry Holzer, John Piper and Robert Tavener.
- Secondly, a renewed emphasis on realism in art, especially focusing on more ‘taken for granted’ subjects such as interior scenes, urban and industrial subjects and less picturesque views of the rural. You can use the filters on ‘The Collection’ page to explore this more realist art.
- Thirdly, abstraction continues to work its way into the representational, blurring the boundaries between the two. Give abstract art a chance – and take a look at what’s available using the Abstract filter.
This was also a period in which the expansion of art education created more opportunities for women to become artists, though their recognition could be short-lived. It’s not unusual to find that women artists who trained in the 1950s ‘disappeared’ and have no recognition in our digital world. We are always keen to receive information concerning artists for whom we have no biographical information.
Our collection celebrates the variety, versatility and distinctiveness of mid-century art and design, offering an attractive range of original items at accessible prices. Tracing the origins and evolution of fifties art and design, our choice extends back to the thirties and forward to the seventies. The works of John Piper extend from the 1930s to the end of his working life.
Dr Richard Turkington, FRSA, Director