June 21- July 31,2023
Norman Stevens RA
The Redfern Gallery
In Person Viewing:
20 Cork Street, London W1S 3HL
Opening Reception: June 20, 6-8 pm
Lifelong friends with David Hockney, Norman Stevens was described as “one of the most particular and distinguished painters and printmakers of his generation” by William Packer. His prizewinning prints were the focus of solo exhibitions at the Arnolfini and Tate during the 1970s, and a posthumous retrospective was held at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2014.
This latest, comprehensive exhibition at the Redfern coincides with the launch of Norman Stevens: The Complete Prints. The first major publication on the artist, this catalogue raisonné documents more than 100 original prints, encompassing intaglio, lithography and screenprinting. All have been newly photographed, and are reproduced in colour, many for the first time.
Born in Bradford, Stevens was part of an outstanding group of students who met at the local art college in the early 1950s. He was the first of this group, which included David Hockney, to continue his studies in London, enrolling at the Royal College of Art in 1957. Training originally as a painter, Stevens turned to printmaking in 1971, as he felt the different techniques allowed for a better exploration of the subtleties of natural light and shadow.
Finding inspiration in the clapboard houses of California, Stonehenge and English formal gardens, Stevens imbued each seemingly disparate subject with a unique sense of mood and mystery.
The Arnolfini, Leeds Art Gallery and the Tate all staged exhibitions of his prints during the 1970s. He took part in print biennales across Europe and Asia, and in 1979, became the first artist to win multiple prizes at the British International Print Biennale. He was described as a “master of the craft” by John McEwen, at his first Redfern show in 1978, and William Feaver hailed Stevens’ “marvellous etching prowess” at the retrospective held at Redfern two years later.
The Redfern has continued to represent Stevens following his death in 1988, notably staging a memorial show in 1989, from which the RA and British Council purchased prints, and a tribute show in 2008, where his work was shown alongside new paintings by his friends from Bradford: Hockney, John Loker, David Oxtoby and Michael Vaughan. Examples of his prints are currently held in more than fifty major public collections around the world, such as the British Museum, MoMA and the National Gallery of Australia.
This catalogue raisonné brings together all 108 prints, produced between 1964 and 1988. The majority of his prints were made using intaglio techniques such as etching, aquatint, and mezzotint, and nearly all of his plates were proofed and printed at JC Editions, London. Co-founded in 1971 by James Collyer and John Crossley, JC Editions worked with many leading artists of the 1970s and ’80s, including Hockney, John Hoyland and Henry Moore.