Prunella Clough British, 1919-1999

Prunella Clough is widely regarded as one of the most singular and significant British artists of the modern post-war period.  Clough found her subjects by touring London’s industrial wastelands and bombsites - docks, power stations, factories and scrapyards - creating gritty, urban images. Her work - comprising paintings, collages, drawings, reliefs and graphics - increasingly centred on the components of the cityscape as her art shifted away from representation through various influences including cubism and European abstraction.  Her abstract works often contrast colours and sometimes found objects and reveal her continual and personal preoccupation with formal qualities – composition, colour and texture - and her delight in the edginess and abstraction of everyday objects and experiences. 


Born in London in 1919, her father worked for the Board of Trade and her aunt was the architect designer Eileen Gray.  She studied at Chelsea School of Art from 1938 where her tutors were influential artists of the day including Ceri Richards, Julian Trevelyan, Robert Medley and Henry Moore, and later she also studied part-time at Camberwell School of Art with Victor Pasmore.  During the second world war she drew charts, maps and graphs for the Office of War Information and by 1945 had formed friendships with a group of artists including Michael Ayrton, Keith Vaughan, John Craxton and the poet Dylan Thomas that met in the Camden Hill Studio, which John Minton shared with Robert MacBryde and Robert Colquhoun. She began exhibiting small still-lives and landscapes and had her first solo show in 1947 at Leger Galleries, London. Her rise to prominence followed her touring retrospective exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1960.  Annely Juda Fine Art worked closely with her throughout her life holding numerous exhibitions of her work and continues to do so, working with her estate.


A study of Clough’s works across the span of her career highlights the way in which she worked alongside her peers, drawing on art historical movements of her time, whilst always maintaining a distinctive way of seeing and painting that is deeply personal and acutely responsive to her surroundings.  She was a highly influential artist and teacher to the post-war generation. In 1999, three months before her death at the age of 80, she won the prestigious Jerwood painting prize. In 2007 a major exhibition of her work was held at the Tate Gallery, London.  Clough’s work is collected  widely and represented in major public galleries and museums around the world including V & A London, Tate Gallery, London, British Museum, London, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, Scottish National Gallery of Art, Edinburgh, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Wakefield City Art Gallery, Yorkshire.