THOMAS W. QUINN
Across an eighty-year career that spanned multiple styles, media and multiple countries, the art of Tom W Quinn is defined by his diverse experience and influence. Born to Northern Irish parents in 1918, Quinn received his early artistic training at the hands of his father, a commercial lithographer. An apprentice at the family firm from his early teens Tom was able to produce his own designs and come into close contact with a variety of styles and designs.
Like so many British artists in the early 20th century whose craft was honed in the commercial sphere, Quinn first developed outstanding formal technique which would later prove the foundation for artistic innovation and experimentation.
After serving in the RAF during the Second World War, Quinn decided to develop his dream of becoming a fine artist and enrolled at the famed Camberwell School of Art. Once enrolled, Quinn was taught by a range of leading painters. Between the abstraction of William Coldstream, the Surrealism of Toni del Renzio, and the psychological portraiture of John Minton, Quinn was introduced to a range of styles all underpinned by a desire to make the unconscious world accessible to a wider audience. While Quinn’s paintings assume their own unique tone, the impulse to democratise the ephemeral never left him.
While Quinn would pursue a successful career in his middle years it was a close friendship with the young Roy Petley, formed while both men were exhibiting their works on the railings of Green Park in the 1970s, that inspired the artist to fully embrace en plein air technique. Moving to the Dordogne, Quinn adopted the style for which he is best known. Through soft, even pastel-like hues, the artist began to capture intimate scenes of his friends and family bathed in the warm sun of Southern France. In his old, light filled studio, the artist adopted a Romantic style in which the lines between his subjects and the outside world began to blend.
From domestic scenes and still lives, to his best-known portraits, Quinn sought to capture the beautiful and the contemplative moments found in everyday life. After a career of constant reinvention and refinement Tom passed away in 2015, one of the last artists with a link to the British school of the 1940s. His corpus of works still stands as testament to a rare subtlety and insight that few possess.