Alexander, Isabel (1910-96)

Isabel Alexander (1910-1996), artist and illustrator, has been described by admirers as ‘the English Georgia O'Keeffe'. Alexander trained at the Slade School of Art, London in the 1930’s and then travelled widely in Europe and lived for the last 20 years of her life in Yorkshire. She also illustrated, wrote and autolithographed one of the celebrated Puffin Picture Books. Alexander's body of work includes drawings, sketches, paintings and illustrations. Best known for her dramatic and distinctive landscapes and seascapes, she was also a keen portrait artist and in her later years experimented with abstraction. Her work is predominantly focused upon line, colour and form. She was enormously influenced by her great love of the British landscape and the natural world, as well as her great empathy for the disadvantaged, in particular the South Wales coalfields during the desperate wartime period before nationalisation. Like many women of her generation she struggled for opportunity and recognition in a field that was overwhelming male; and like many more women across society as a whole she had to reconcile ambition with financial pressures and the demands of parenting. January 2017 sees the opening of a major retrospective of her work, Isabel Alexander: Artist Illustrator at The Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate. To coincide with the retrospective, an extensive illustrated monograph of Alexander's work has also been published.


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