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 Geoff Holt  (1942 - 1998)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: portrait, figure, still life, mystical painting, nudes

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Ad Code: 4
Geoff Holt
Poppies
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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.

Geoff Holt (1942 - 1998)

"Geoff Holt was born on the 30th July, during the Second World War, in Wokingham, near Surrey.  The 2nd of three sons, he grew up in impoverished circumstances in South London.  His exceptional talent was spotted at secondary school where one of his teachers gave him his first set of real paints - a box of water colors.

At 14 he attended the Camberwell School of Art on a special scheme for gifted youngsters run by the London County Council.  He left at 18 and was offered, but rejected, a place at the Slade School of Fine Art.

Geoff always wanted to paint and said there was nothing else he could do.  However he did many odd jobs to supplement his often sporadic income as an artist, working as a bingo caller, night worker in a jelly making factory, after school club leader, ambulance driver, interior decorator, stall holder, and candle maker, etc.

Geoff did not fit easily into the art world, always feeling an outsider.  However he was quite pleased when he was elected to the Chelsea Arts Club in 1980s.  Geoff never wanted to be pigeonholed and chose his style of painting to fit his subject matter, rather than forcing his style on the subject.

Geoff was an extraordinarily compassionate and kind person who loved to encourage others to achieve their dreams.  He was always generous with his time and money, even when he was short of both.

He struggled for many years with bipolar disorder and smoked voraciously. In his one self portrait he is smoking, and there are few photographs of him without a cigarette in his hand.  He tried many times to quit but also said smoking kept him alive - he used to say there were times when if he had not had a cigarette to calm him down and make him think, he probably would have killed himself.  He died aged 55 from lung cancer.

Geoff started selling his paintings on the railings in Queensway, London.  From there he mostly sold privately and through commission.  He was passionate about his painting and about his favourite artists - Botticelli, Cranach, Durer and Van Gogh and he also admired the artisty of the old Walt Disney movies.

Geoff married twice and is survived by his first wife, Mary and their daughter Emma, and by Sue, his 2nd wife, their son Felix, and adopted son Ben.

Geoff Holt's father was George Edward Holt who was a fire fighter with the Pioneer Corps during WW2.  His mother, Irene Winifred Holt, (nee Miatt) worked as a cleric with RACS after the early death of her husband.  Holt's maternal grandfather Ernest Miatt, was a craft bookbinder and self-taught calligrapher and draughtsman."

Sue Holt 2008

All material taken with permission from the family website, established in tribute to Geoff Holt. geoffholtukartist.com

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