Peter de Francia 1921-2012


Peter de Francia’s vibrant palette, dynamic compositions and evocative subjects reflect a style of painting that developed out of Picasso’s modernism. Some are dark and others untroubled. Best known for large scale, sometimes violent depictions of combat and struggle, de Francia also gave attention to bucolic scenes of industry and recreation. These two narrative threads, distinct at first sight, share a preoccupation with the human experience, sensitive but un-sentimentalised.


Born in France to Italian and English parents, de Francia studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1938 and, following the wartime occupation of Belgium, moved to England, where he completed his studies at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Subsequently, de Francia was Principal of Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, and Professor of Painting at the Royal College of Art. He was an influential socialist artist who was deeply invested in presenting the global realities of capitalism. Unlike many of his British contemporaries, his preoccupation was international.


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