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Tom Carr OBE, RUA (1909-99)
A talented landscape artist and figurative painter, Tom Carr was born
in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and encouraged to sketch by his
watercolourist grandfather. In 1929 he attended the Slade School of
Fine Art, London, where he studied drawing and painting under Henry
Tonks and Wilson Steer. After two years study, Tom Carr travelled
to Florence for six months, staying at the home of the artist Aubrey
Returning to London, he slowly built a reputation as a draughtsman and
artist, exhibiting at several galleries. He painted watercolours
as well as oil painting.
During this time he came to the attention of the history of art expert Kenneth Clark who recommended the purchase of Carr's Beach Scene at Dover Beach
to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). In the early 1930s,
despite his love for the paintings of Claude, Degas, Corot and Sickert
- an influence which never left him - he flirted briefly with
non-representational art and became associated with various avant-garde
groups in London such as the Objective Abstractionists as well as the
Euston Road Group of artists, established by Pasmore, William
Coldstream and Claude Rogers. In 1933, Carr took part in the Objective
Abstractions Exhibition at the Zwemmer Gallery in 1934, but soon
discovered that abstraction held no interest for him. He thus returned
to figure painting, focusing on people seated by the seaside, often
with dogs and cats in view; or children playing, or landscapes of
Carr returned to Ulster just before the war and worked as an official
war artist. However, the landscape of Northern Ireland became his
principal subject, in both oils and watercolours. He taught art in a
private school and later figure-drawing at the Belfast College of Art.
Painting children became of his specialities. Following his wife's
death in 1995, he moved to Norfolk where he focused on landscape
painting of the local scenery. He was honoured with an MBE in 1974 for
services to art in Ulster and became OBE in 1993. Tom Carr was a member
of the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters and the Watercolour
Society of Ireland. He was also a member of the Royal Ulster Academy of
Tom Carr's major exhibitions include:
1933 - Zwemmer Gallery, London: "Tom Carr, Victor Pasmore, Ceri Richards."
1989 RHA Gallery, Dublin: "Retrospective."
1997 Ulster Museum, Belfast; "The Red Sings Out."
1999 Eakin Gallery, Belfast.
His paintings are represented in several public collections, including:
Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
AIB (Allied Irish Banks).
Online Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art
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