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 Colin (Unwin) Gill  (1892 - 1940)

About: Colin (Unwin) Gill
 

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Lived/Active: England/Italy      Known for: modernist figure and genre painting, wartime camouflage artist

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Four figure studies
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Decorative and genre painter, born in Bexley Heath, Kent, Colin Gill was a cousin of the sculptor and printmaker Eric Gill. Colin studied at the Slade School of Art* in London, and in 1913 won a scholarship to the British School at Rome.

His scholarship was interrupted by the First World War: he served in France 1915-18 and was appointed an Official War Artist* and also served as a camoufleur with the Royal Engineers.

From 1922-25 he was a member of staff at the Royal College of Art. He died in South Africa in 1940, while working on a series of murals for the Magistrates Court in Johannesburg. His work is held in the Tate Gallery and the Imperial War Museum.

Gill can lay claim both to being the first painter to win a scholarship to the British School at Rome and to have produced its most iconic image: Allegory, 1921. He also started the fruitful tradition of scholars taking up residence in the small village of Anticoli Corrardo, just south of Rome, during the hot summer months.

However, like many of the Rome Scholars who came after him, there is a sense that Gill never fulfilled the remarkable promise of his early work. After returning from Italy his paintings appear to be caught uncomfortably between two desires: on one hand, to continue in the nineteenth-century tradition in which he had been trained, and, on the other, to embrace something more contemporary and avant-garde*. He was a keen photographer and also a novelist.

Sources:
Website of the artist
Roy R. Behrens, Camoupedia

* For references for these terms and others, see AskART Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx


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