William Gear

About Artist: He first exhibited in 1934 with the Royal Scottish Academy and Society of Scottish Artists, and his postgraduate scholarship (1936–37) included History of Art studies with Professor David Talbot Rice at Edinburgh University. Awarded a travelling scholarship (1937–38), he visited France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. This included a stay in Paris studying with Fernand Léger. At summer school in Arbroath (1938) he met Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde. A brief interest in Surrealism led him to exhibit with the New Era Group in Edinburgh (1939). Called up for military service in 1940, and commissioned 2nd Lieutenant (1941), in the Second World War he served with the Royal Corps of Signals. He met Merlyn Evans in Durban, en route to his first posting in the Middle East, and subsequently served in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Cyprus, before participating in the Allied invasion of Italy, where in Siena and Florence he held his first solo exhibitions (1944). After VE Day he worked for the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives section of the Allied Control Commission, with responsibility for securing art works in Land Nieder Sachsen, Germany. During his travels through Europe he also worked to promote local artists suffering from wartime deprivations, including Karl Otto Götz. Between 1947 and 1950 he lived and worked in Paris, where he met Eduardo Paolozzi, Alan Davie, Stephen Gilbert, and many of the leading post-war generation of Parisian artists (Atlan, Da Silva, De Stael, Dubuffet, Hartung, Mathieu, Pignon, Poliakoff, Schoffer, Singier, Soulages, Zadkine). In 1948 he held his first Paris and London solo exhibitions, and visited Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon and Bryan Winter in St Ives. After meeting Appel, Constant, Corneille, and Jorn, he joined and exhibited with the North European avant-garde CoBrA art group. in Amsterdam (1949). That year he also co-exhibited with Jackson Pollock in New York, married an American citizen, Charlotte Chertok (1920–88), and their son David was born. Whilst holidaying in Brittany (1950), he was visited by William Scott.

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