PRUNELLA CLOUGH (1919-1999)
Prunella Clough is widely appreciated as one of the most significant British artists of the post-war period; she was described by Bridget Riley as ‘unmistakably a modern painter.’ Clough's work is distinctive and private and yet always responsive to what was going on around her. Having worked as a cartographer during the Second World War, she developed a visual language for the changing boundaries between rural and urban in her paintings, drawing inspiration from industrial wastelands. Her early work is characterised by the subject of labour and the urban landscape, finding beauty in overlooked environments. Towards the end of her life, Clough became regarded largely as an abstractionist, but her work always retained a figurative base. In her late paintings, she incorporated the found detritus of advanced capitalism into a language of minimalist abstraction.
Clough was born in London and studied at Chelsea School of Art, working as a draughtsman of maps and charts during the war. She was a highly influential artist and teacher to the post-war generation. In 1999, three months before her death, she won the prestigious Jerwood painting prize. Her work has been exhibited at Camden Arts Centre, London; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. In 2007 she had a major retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain, London and in 2019 on the centenary of her birth, a retrospective of her work was shown at Pallant House Gallery. Her work is held in more than forty collections, including Tate, London; Courtauld Gallery, London; the Government Art Collection; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.