Peter Lanyon was a British artist who created abstracted landscapes of the Cornish countryside. Melding multiple styles, his influences included Abstract Expressionism, Colour Field painting, and the organic abstractions of Ben Nicholson. “It is impossible for me to make a painting which has no reference to the powerful environment in which I live,” the artist said. Born on February 8, 1918 in St. Ives, United Kingdom, Lanyon began receiving private art lessons at an early age before going on to study at the Euston Road School and Penzance School of Art. In 1939, after finishing his studies, he developed friendships with artists who had moved to Cornwall during World War II, including Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. After his first New York solo exhibition in 1957, his work underwent a change, partly caused by his exposure to the works of Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell. It was these two artists that encouraged Lanyon to create looser and more abstract compositions. Interestingly, Lanyon’s paintings were directly related to his passion for hang-gliding. The views he saw while hovering above the landscape, influenced the linear forms and patterns found in his paintings. Tragically, Lanyon died after a hang-gliding accident on August 31, 1964 in Taunton, United Kingdom. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Go to Top