Bryan Pearce - Biography
Short Biography
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Bryan Pearce was born in St Ives, Cornwall in 1929, a sufferer of the then unknown condition Phenylketonuria, which affects the normal development of the brain. Encouraged by his mother who was herself a painter, and then by other St Ives artists, he began drawing and painting in watercolours in 1953. From 1953 to 1957 he attended St Ives School of Painting under Leonard Fuller.

In 1957 Pearce began painting in oils and started to exhibit regularly at the Penwith Gallery in St Ives. He became an Associate of the Penwith Society of Arts in Cornwall, and later a full member, having been sponsored by the sculptor Denis Mitchell. He is also a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists; it was at the instigation of Peter Lanyon that he had his first solo show at Newlyn Gallery in 1959.

Now one of the country's foremost living naive painters, Pearce is well know for portraying the local St Ives landscape and still-life compositions in oil, conte, pen and ink, and pencil.

In the early 1970s Pearce began to make small etchings with the assistance of fellow artists Breon O'Casey and Bryan Ingham, and later Roy Walker. Since 1976 a number of his oil paintings have been made into limited edition screenprints in order to bring his distinctive images to a wider public.
Please click here to see current screenprints for sale.

He has always worked slowly, but consistently, producing perhaps twelve oil paintings a year. Often compared to Alfred Wallis, the late Peter Lanyon has said of him: "Because his sources are not seen with a passive eye, but are truly happenings, his painting is original."

Over the past 40 years Bryan Pearce has exhibited throughout the country, including the New Art Centre, Victor Waddington Gallery and Stoppenbach & Delestre in London; Beaux Arts in Bath and the Oxford Museum of Modern Art. In St Ives he has shown at the Sail Loft Gallery, Wills Lane Gallery and the New Craftsman. Public Collections include: the Tate Gallery, the Arts Council, the Contemporary Arts Society and Kettle's Yard, Cambridge.

Please click an image for a detailed view:

Bryan Pearce - The 'Scillionian's' First Visit to St Ives, 1958

Bryan Pearce - Gloxinia, 1968

Bryan Pearce - Devon Viaduct, 1978

Bryan Pearce - Streptocarpus In Grey Pot, c.1985

top of page Biographical Summary
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Born St Ives, Cornwall

Began drawing and painting

Attended St Ives School of Painting, under Leonard Fuller ROI CRA

Sponsored for Penwith Society of Arts in Cornwall

First London exhibition 'Arts Advancement Ltd', Sloane Square

First one-man exhibition at Newlyn Gallery, Penzance

First one-man exhibition in London at St Martin's Gallery

Painting selected for fourth John Moores Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

First retrospective exhibition at Penwith Gallery, St Ives

Family moved from Market Place, St Ives to Piazza flat, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Leased 12 Porthmeor Studios, Back Road West, St Ives

Painting selected for Second British Drawing Biennale, Teeside, Middlesbrough

Exhibited a painting in 'St Ives 1939-64, Twenty Five Years of Painting, Sculpture and Pottery' at the Tate Gallery, London

Produced a poster for the first International Very Special Arts Festival, held at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, USA

Contributed an etching, Harbour, to the portfolio 'Ten Etchings', to raise money to build a new museum in St Ives to house the Tate Gallery's collection of St Ives paintings and sculpture

Donated a painting, Four Fishing Boats, to 'Auction of Fine and Applied Art' presented by the St Ives Tate Action Group, David Lay's Auction House, 12 October 1991 to raise funds for the building of Tate Gallery St Ives

Donated a painting, Three Boats, to 'The Hall for Cornwall' auction, City Hall, Truro, 12 October 1995 to raise funds for a new concert hall in Truro

Death of Mary Pearce

Painting Three Angels, 1986, on long term loan to St Ives parish Church for display in the Lady Chapel

Contributed an etching for the 'Porthmeor Portfolio' to raise funds for the refurbishment of the historic Porthmeor Studios in St Ives

Died in St Ives, age 77

top of page One-man Exhibitions
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Newlyn Gallery, near Penzance

Sail Loft Gallery, St Ives

St Martin's Gallery, London

St Martin's Gallery, London
'Exhibition 9', Fore Street Gallery, St Ives (with Troika Pottery)

Bene't Gallery, Cambridge
New Art Centre, London

New Art Centre, London

Sheviock Gallery, near Torpoint, east Cornwall

New Art Centre, London

Sheviock Gallery, near Torpoint, east Cornwall

New Art Centre, London
The Cider Press, Dartington, Devon
The Beaford Art Centre, north Devon

Oxford Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

Wills Lane Gallery, St Ives
The Green Room, Newlyn Orion Gallery, Newlyn, near Penzance

Victor Waddington Gallery, Cork Street, London

Wills Lane Gallery, St Ives

Wills Lane Gallery, St Ives (two-man)
Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth (early paintings)
Stoppenbach & Delestre, Cork Street, London

Wills Lane Gallery, St Ives (two-man)

Montpelier Studio, London
Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth (retrospective)

Beaux Arts, Bath

Penwith Gallery, St Ives (retrospective)

Beaux Arts, Bath

Royal West of England Academy, Bristol (retrospective)

Beaux Arts, Bath

Royal Cornwall Museum (and tour to Penwith Gallery, St Ives and Braintree District Museum & Art Gallery, Essex - retrospective)

New Street Gallery, Plymouth

Victoria Art Gallery, Bath
Beaux Arts, Bath
Lemon Street Gallery, Truro

Archeus Fine Art, Albemarle Street, London

Tate St Ives, St Ives

Lemon Street Gallery, Truro

Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro

top of page Public Collections
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The Arts Council of England

The Contemporary Arts Society

Cornwall County Council Schools Works of Art Collection

CSO Contemporary Art Collection

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge

Royal Cornwall Museum

Plymouth City Art Gallery

Portsmouth City Museum & Record Service

Stroud Court Community Trust

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Tate Gallery copyright Bryan Pearce 2002

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