Monday, 6 February 2017

Joe Tilson - part 1

Born in 1928 Joe Tilson served in the Royal Air Force (1946–49), after which he studied in London at St. Martin’s School of Art (1949–52) and the Royal College of Art (1952–55), where he received the Rome Prize, which took him to Italy for a year in 1955. He returned to London in 1957, and from 1958 to 1963 he taught at St Martin's School of Art, and subsequently taught at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and The School of Visual Arts, New York and the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste, Hamburg. In 1961 he exhibited at the Paris Biennale.

During the 1960s Tilson became one of the leading figures associated with the British Pop Art movement. Making use of his previous experience as a carpenter and joiner, Tilson produced wooden reliefs and constructions as well as prints and paintings.

His first one-man show was held at the Marlborough Gallery, London in 1962 In 1977 he joined the Waddington Galleries and also exhibited at the Alan Cristea Gallery and the Giò Marconi Galleries in Milan. Tilson's work gained an international reputation when shown at the XXXII Venice Biennale in 1964,  which led to a retrospective at the Boyman's Museum, Rotterdam in 1964. Further retrospective exhibitions followed at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1979 and the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol in 1984.

Growing disillusionment with the consumer society led to a change in Tilson’s work in the 1970s. After moving to Wiltshire in 1972, he began to use a wider variety of materials, including stone, straw and rope in an effort to transcend time and culture by drawing on the motifs of pre-Classical mythology. This body of work was called Alchera.


Tilson's work has been exhibited regularly in solo shows throughout the world. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA) in 1985 and a full Royal Academician (RA in 1991. He lives and works in London and Italy.

This is part 1 of a 5 - part series on the works of Joe Tilson:


1952 Maltese Cross
Cut-Out oil on wood 30.5 x 30.5 cm
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1959 Summer 1959
oil on canvas 200 x 79 cm
Bradford Museums and Galleries, Yorkshire, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1959 Summer
oil on canvas 120.5 x 107 cm
Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1959 Summer, 1959
oil on board 13.1 x 15.2 cm
The Geffrye, Museum of the Home, London
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1960 Triptych No.3A
oil on canvas 30.8 x 77 cm
Pallant House Gallery, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1961 Collage 16/W, 1961
acrylic? on wood veneers on panel 152.4 x 101.5 cm
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1961 Vertical Collage
wood and synthetic polymer paint on plywood 174.9 x 60.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1961 Wood Relief No.21 - Bocca
122 x 91.5 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1961-62 Space Trophy
paint on wood 95.9 x 127 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1963 1–5 ( The Senses )
acrylic on wood relief 233 x 152.4 cm
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1963 Lufbery and Rickenbacker
screenprint 68.9 x 49.5 cm

© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1963 Nine Elements
mixed media on wood relief 259 x 182.8 cm
National Galleries of Scotland, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1963 Vox Box
oil on wood 152.4 x 121.9 x 7 cm
Tate, London
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1963 Ziggurat
oil on wood relief 48.2 x 33.2 cm
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1963c Design for Ziggurat
pencil and crayon 50 x 60 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1964 10th Sonnet
screenprint 69.5 x 100.3 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1964 21st
screenprint and envelope on paper 82.5 x 61 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1964 LOOK
oil and acrylic on plywood 186.7 x 194 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1964 Small Geometry No.1
acrylic on wood relief 54.5 x 54.5 cm
Pallant House Art Gallery, Chichester, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1964 Ziggurat
screenprint 74.3 x 54.9 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1964-65 Geometry No.6
oil and acrylic on wood panel 126.4 x 126.4 cm
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1965 1/2 Ziggurat
screenprint 57.8 x 84.1 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1965 Applied design in oil on wood panel
137 x 21.2 cm
University of Warwick, UK
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1965 Dart
silkscreen 26 x 25.5 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1965 Geometry?
screenprint 55.2 x 54.6 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1965 Rainbow Grill
screenprint on card with polystyrene on card and board 61 x 60.3 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1965 Six Small Prints
screenprint 55.9 x 83.8 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1965 Three Wristwatches
screenprint 55.9 x 84.5 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1966 Watches
screenprint with metallic backing sheet 58 x 90 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1966 Ziggurat 5
screenprint
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1966 Ziggurat 6 
screenprint© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1966 Ziggurat 7 
screenprint© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1967 G.e.o.m.e.t.r.y Puzzle 1
polyurethane on wood relief 122 x 167.5 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1967 New York Decals 1 and 2
screenprint 90.5 x 101.3 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1967 New York Decals 3 and 4
screenprint 90..5 x 101.3 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1967 Rank 1
screenprint 49.5 x 44.1 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

1967 Rank 2
screenprint 49.6 x 44 cm
© Joe Tilson. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

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