Artwork of the Month: St George’s by Albert Irvin OBE

26 November 2021
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Every month we highlight an artwork from our hospital art collection.

For November, we have selected a painting by Albert Irvin, currently displayed on the first-floor corridor of Grosvenor Wing.

Our art collection boasts several limited edition prints by the artist, each bringing the familiarly bold colours and shapes associated with the artist’s portfolio, but we are especially proud of this unique work, titled ‘St George’s’, created using acrylic paint on canvas.

About the artwork

The painting was created in 2009 and was donated to St George’s Hospital Charity by the Irvin Estate in 2015 on account of the care Albert and his wife Betty received at St George’s Hospital.

‘St George’s’ embraces Albert’s conviction that brilliant colours, shapes and brush marks can express a sense of life. Irvin’s work is an explosion of energy, passion and optimism, also shown by his remark: “Can I make a painting about a human being, about the human spirit, without having to paint noses and feet?”.

Using a palette of both colours on the same spectrum and contrasting shades, Albert injected a sense of energy into this work, celebrating the joy of being alive. The piece also evokes movement from the viewer. Its large size invites the spectator to physically shift from one side to another, taking in the interplay of shapes within the work.

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Albert Irwin, St George’s, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 183 (h) x 153 cm (w)

About the artist

Albert Irvin was a part of a group of artists who began formal artistic training during the Second World War. Whilst born in London, he was evacuated to Northampton where he studied at the School of Art between 1940 and 1941. Conscripted to the Royal Air Force as a navigator, he then went on to resume his studies at Goldsmiths College from 1946 – 1950.

Influenced by the likes of Henri Matisse and JMW Turner, Albert also spent time with artists who gathered in St Ives in the early 1950s, a town in Cornwall which was home to Barbara Hepworth amongst other well-known mid-century British creatives.

Albert was awarded an OBE in 2013 for his services to visual arts, both through teaching positions and his own creations.

This is just one of over 800 works of art that make up our hospital art collection. The artworks on public display around the hospital create spaces that are engaging, welcoming and compassionate.

Arts St George’s is the arts programme for St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and part of St George’s Hospital Charity.

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