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 Peter Anthony Stroud  (1921 - 2012)

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Lived/Active: Vermont/New Jersey / England      Known for: geometric abstract painting, grid imagery, teaching

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from Auction House Records.
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Biography from Richard Connor Fine Art:
Peter Anthony Stroud
The style of Peter Anthony Stroud, who has been described as 'one of the sages of geometric abstraction' (1), could be described as an intersection between color field and constructivist abstraction.  Throughout his career he worked with patterned grids, oscillating between relief paintings and two-dimensional works where paint, rather than strips of wood, were employed to create the grid boundaries and shadows. In screenprints, Stroud found an additional medium conducive to his interest in pattern and color.
Born in a small town near London, Stroud cites an enthusiastic and supportive school teacher for stimulating his interest in the visual arts.(2)
At age 18 he joined the British Army Intelligence and Signal Corps and served in WWII. After being captured in the Libyan desert while dining on a can of Libby's peaches, Stroud was held as a POW for four years in Italian and German Prisoner of War camps.
He cites his main wartime job, reading and analyzing land maps, and the design work of two uncles engaged in the fabric and lace business, as early influences on his mature style.
A Paul Klee exhibition in 1950 was instrumental in sealing Stroud's decision to become an artist. He completed his artistic training at London University and the Central School for Art, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1953.
Stroud joined a group of young British abstract artists, including Victor Passmore, that fell under the spell of writings by Charles Beiderman, whose structural relief and approach to color greatly intrigued Stroud.  During ventures to Paris, though Peggy Guggenhiem, he met Jean Helion, whose influence was important in solidifying Stroud's commitment to abstraction2,3. Ben Nicholson was also a major influence during this period.
From 1960 to 1963 Stroud worked and mentored students as the Chairman of The Department of General Studies, Maidstone College of Art.
The New American Painting exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1960 exposed Stroud to the work of American abstract expressionists, including Ad Reinhardt, whom Stroud came to consider his 'senior mentor' following Stroud's move to the US in the early 1960s to take a position at Bennington College in Vermont.
His move stateside was preceded by participation in major London exhibitions, including his first solo show at The Institute for Contempory Art in 1961 and with landmark group shows including 'Dimensions' (1959) and 'Situation' (1960) at the RBA Gallery in London (a portrait of the Situation Group, by Sylvia Sleigh, may be viewed at the National Portrait Gallery in London and includes Lawrence Alloway, Gillian Ayres, Bernard Cohen, Roger Coleman, Peter Coviello, Robyn Denny, Gordon House, Gwyther Irwin, Henry Mundy, John Plumb, Peter Stroud and sculptor William Turnbull). After his move to the U.S., Stroud's work was included in MOMA's important1965 exhibition, 'The Responsive Eye'. A photograph of his painting is opposite one by Josef Albers in the exhibition catalogue.
At Bennington Stroud was influenced by Tony Smith, and exhibitions of work by Barnett Newman and Agnes Martin.  It was during this time that he began his friendship with Ad Reinhardt.  From his position as Chairperson at Bennington, Stroud became Chair of the Art Department then Director of the Graduate Program at Rutgers. He subsequently retired to Princeton NJ where he continued to paint and mentor students.
Peter Stroud maintained an extraordinary enthusiasm for painting until the end of his life, past the age where macular degeneration rendered it difficult for him to paint a straight line. He excitedly told this author, during a visit when the artist was 90, of his newest ideas.
In addition to the early exhibitions mentioned above, Stroud's work was exhibited at the Axiom Gallery, The Hoya Gallery, The Bernard Jacobson Gallery and the Weymouth Gallery in London, the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery and Harrington Fine Arts in New York, the Galerie Muller in Stuttgart, Germany and at the East China Normal University in Shanghai.  Major retrospectives were held at The New Jersey State Museum (1988), East China Normal University (1988) and at Rider University (2007).  His work may be found in numerous museum collections including the Tate Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institute.

1. The subtle style of Peter Stroud. Victoria Donohoe. Philadelphia Enquirer. October 1988.
 2 A conversation with Peter Stroud. Harry I. Naar. Peter Stroud: Paintings 1970-2007. Rider University Art Gallery.
 3. Peter Stroud: Re-contextualized Abstraction. Joan Marter. In Peter Stroud: Retrospective Exhibition. September 10-October 30 1988, New Jersey State Museum.
Richard Connor
Richard Connor Fine Art

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