Portrait of John Walker
Gift of Kenneth Tyler 2002
Photographer: Marabeth COHEN-TYLER

John Walker was born in 1939 in Birmingham, England, and studied at the Birmingham School of Art before receiving a travelling scholarship that afforded him the opportunity to study at the Académie de la Grand Chaumière in Paris. Walker’s painting has been widely acclaimed throughout his career for its emotional intensity achieved through a comprehensive collage and layering process. One such work Study for Luke’s blue is in the National Gallery of Australia’s collection. Walker worked at Tyler Graphics three times.

In 1996 he created the Mt. Kisco studio works using hand coloured paper to which he applied colour through stencils, allowing him to achieve a spontaneity that echoed his painterly work. In 1998 he returned to create the portfolio of etchings, Passing bells. The portfolio, which was displayed in its entirety at the National Gallery in the exhibition Universal soldier: John Walker’s Passing bells, in 2000, is based on the wartime experiences of Walker’s father. In 1999 Walker further explored the harrowing themes of war with works including Flandersand A terre.
Emilie Owens

Further reading


Born Birmingham, West Midlands, England

Studied at Birmingham School of Art, West Midlands

Receives Edwin Abbey Travelling Scholarship

Studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, France

Teaches at Stourbridge Colllege of Art, West Midlands; Birmingham College of Art, West Midlands; St Martin’s School of Art, London

First solo exhibition, Axiom Gallery, London

Included in exhibition, Theodoran Foundation Exhibition, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York where he receives Theodoran Award

Receives Harkness Fellowship to the United States, lives in New York, New York

Included in exhibitions, British paintings and sculptures, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Contemporary British Art, Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan

Included in Venice Biennale, Italy

Painting tutor, Royal College of Art, London

Included in exhibition, Toward painting, The Tate Gallery, London

Wins First Prize, Bradford International Print Biennale, Yorkshire

Works as Professor of Painting and Drawing, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York

Completes residency, at Columbia University, New York

Completes residency, at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, England

Solo exhibitions: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Museum of Modern Art, New York

Travelling solo exhibition, John Walker, originating at University Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Completes residency, Monash University, Melbourne

Completes residency, Prahan College of Advanced Education, Melbourne

Solo exhibition, National Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand
Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

Traveling solo exhibition, John Walker, originating at the Phillips Collections, Washington, DC; included in travelling exhibition, Aspects of British art today, originating at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan; Visions in disbelief, Sydney Biennale, Australia

Works as Dean, at Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne

Solo exhibition, John Walker: recent paintings, M. Knoedler & Company, New York

Travelling solo exhibition, John Walker: paintings from the Alba and Oceania Series 1979-84, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain; exhibition, John Walker: prints 1976-84, The Tate Gallery, London

Visiting Professor, Yale University, New Haven

Solo exhibition, John Walker: prints, Rex Irwin Gallery, Sydney

Included in exhibition, Inaugural exhibition, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden

Completes Mount Kisco Studio prints at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York

Travelling solo exhibition, A theater of recollection: paintings and prints by John Walker, originating at Boston University Art Gallery, Massachusetts; included in travelling exhibition, Founders and heirs of the New York School, organised by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The United States Embassy, Tokyo

Completes editions of The Somme, Sheep Skull, Passing Bells Portfolio, Flanders, The witness, The studio, Repose, Á terre at Tyler Graphics Ltd, Mount Kisco, New York

Solo exhibition, The universal soldier: John Walker’s passing bells, at National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Solo exhibition, John Walker: a winter in Maine, at Centre for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport

John Walker currently lives and works in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Barbara Delano © Tyler Graphics Ltd., revised Kate Buckingham, 2007
This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated January 2017