Carel Weight RA
British Artist (1908 - 1997)
All images © Estate of Carel Weight.
Carel Weight was born in 1907 in Paddington, London to middle class working parents. Weight spent much of his childhood at the home of a foster mother, Rose Matkin, in Fulham, then a working class district. These formative years influenced many of his later works, which concentrate on areas of west and south London, including Wandsworth, Battersea, Putney and Clapham. Weight's childhood also made him acutely aware of the contrast between deprivation and affluence, a re-occuring theme throughout his painting career.
He studied at Hammersmith School of Art, 1926-9, where he met Ruskin Spear, and at Goldsmith's College 1929-32, under Gardiner, Mansbridge and Kokoshka and exhibited at the RA from 1931, becoming ARA in 1955, RA in 1965 and a Trustee from 1975 to 1984.
He held his first solo exhibition in 1933 at the Cooling Gallery and subsequently exhibited at London galleries (including the Zwemmer Gallery and the New Grafton Gallery), and in the provinces.
Elected RBA in 1934, to the London Group in 1950 and RWA in 1954, his work is represented in public collections including the Tate Gallery and the V & A.
Between 1945 and 1946 he was an Official War Artist. He was Tutor, 1947-57, and then Professos, 1957-73, of Painting at the Royal College of Art where he was made Professor Emeritus in 1973 and a Senior Fellow in 1983.
Awarded a CBE in 1962 and an Honourary Doctorate from Edinburgh University in 1982, his commissions inluded murals for the Festival of Britain in 1951, and for Manchester Cathedral in 1963 (Christ and the People). His paintings often presented an apparently realistic suburban setting in which unexpected human dramas were enacted. Subjects were depicted in strong colour, idiosynchratic perspective and small, open brushmarks, and the integration of figures, setting, light and atmosphere produced a strong emotional content, sometimes humorous, sometimes menacing. Influenced by Munch and sharing some characteristics with Stanley Spencer, the narrative content of his work arose from his interest in the abstract structure and the specific location of the painting.
He died in 1997.