Born 1903, London. Died 1980
Graham Sutherland started his working life as a railway engineering apprentice but after a year, he left to study art at Goldsmiths' College in London from 1920-25. His early work concentrated on engraving and etching landscapes and was influenced by the romanticism of William Blake, Samuel Palmer and Paul Nash. In 1935 he visited Pembrokeshire and decided to concentrate on painting. He taught at Kingston School of Art, Chelsea School of Art the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford and Goldsmiths's College.
During the war he was an official war artist, painting bomb damage in South Wales and London, tin mining in Cornwall and, after the liberation of France, views of the damage done by the RAF to railway marshalling yards. In 1944 he was asked to paint a crucifixion for St Matthew's Church in Northampton and this was the start of a number of religious works. Sutherland made his first visit to the South of France in 1947 and thereafter spent a part of each year there, buying a house in Menton in 1955. His work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1952 and the exhibition then toured to Paris, Amsterdam and Zurich, concluding at the Tate Gallery in 1953.
In 1950 Sutherland was commissioned to paint a mural called The Origins of the Land for the Land of Britain pavilion at the Festival of Britain. The subject related directly to Sutherland's view of landscape as essentially unpeopled and pre-historic. At this time he was also commissioned to make a tapestry of Christ in Glory for the new Coventry Cathedral and the Herbert Art Gallery hold a collection of his working drawings for it which developed over an eight year period. From 1949, portrait painting became an important part of his work and the National Portrait Gallery staged an exhibition of them in 1977.
The Picton Castle Gallery in Pembrokeshire which is devoted to Sutherland's work opened in 1976. Graham Sutherland was awarded the Order of Merit in 1980. In 1982 the Tate Gallery showed a major retrospective exhibition of his work.