Robyn Denny

(1930-2014)
Robyn Denny was a leading abstract British artist, who helped to change the face of British art, particularly in the 1960s and 70s. He aided in the organisation of the exhibition 'Situation' at the RBA Galeries in 1960, a landmark exhibition for large British abstract painting, represented Britain at the 1966 Venice Biennale, and in 1973 was the youngest artist (at the time) to be given a retrospective at the Tate.


Denny's hard-edge, large, abstract paintings react against the tradition of British landscape painting (and his rural upbringing) in works that are urban, linear and future-oriented. This style of painting began in the 1950s when he was part of the 'tachiste' movement (a European variation on American Abstract Expressionism), which developed into hard-edge painting in 1960, a style which continued up until his Tate retrospective. Works from 1961, including 'Madras', feature vertical bands within a frame which suggest architecture, gateways, and the human body. Denny liked these works to be hung low to the ground so that viewers feel they might step into the picture. The Tate has a large collection of Denny's works and these were re-displayed in 2007-08.


Robyn Denny was born in 1930 in Abinger, Surrey, and died at his home in Linars, France. He studied at St Martin's School of Art (1951-54) and the Royal College (1954-57). He has had many solo and group exhibitions internationally and has work in public collections including the Tate, London; MoMA, New York, USA; Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal and Art Institute, Chicago, USA.