Victor Pasmore, Reclining Nude, 1942
Edwin John Victor Pasmore (3 December 1908 – 23 January 1998) was a British artist and architect. He pioneered the development of abstract art in Britain in the 1940s and 1950s.
Pasmore was born in Chelsham, Surrey, in south England. He studied at Summer Fields School in Oxford and Harrow in west London, but with the death of his father in 1927 he was forced to take an administrative job at the London County Council. He studied painting part-time at the Central School of Art and was associated with the formation of the Euston Road School and the first post-war exhibition of abstract art. After experimenting with abstraction, Pasmore worked for a time in a lyrical figurative style, painting views of the River Thames from Hammersmith much in the style of Turner and Whistler.
In the Second World War, Pasmore was a conscientious objector. Having been refused recognition by his Local Tribunal, he was called up for military service in 1942. He refused orders and was court martialled and sentenced to 123 days imprisonment. The sentence qualified him to go to the Appellate Tribunal in Edinburgh, which allowed him unconditional exemption from military service.
Pasmore was a leading figure in the promotion of abstract art and reform of the fine art education system. From 1943–1949, he taught at Camberwell School of Art where one of his students wasTerry Frost whom he advised not to bother with the School’s formal teaching and to instead study the works in the National Gallery.
Beginning in 1947, he developed a purely abstract style under the influence of Ben Nicholson and other artists associated with Circle, becoming a pioneering figure of the revival of interest in Constructivism in Britain following the War. Pasmore’s abstract work, often in collage and construction of reliefs, pioneered the use of new materials and was sometimes on a large architectural scale. Herbert Read described Pasmore’s new style as “The most revolutionary event in post-war British art.” (Wikipedia)