Paintings by Willy Tirr

26 January 2015

We are pleased to have recently acquired a selection of paintings by the Modern British artist Willy Tirr (1915-1991). These include important figurative works from the 1940s as well as later works which signal the artists move away from figuration and towards abstraction.

Willy Tirr was born in Stettin, Germany in 1915. He fled the Nazis in 1938, settling in England at the age of 23. After the war he moved to Leeds and in the 1950’s and 60’s he taught at the Leeds College of Art which, under the direction of Harry Thubron, was recognized as one the most radical and innovative colleges in Europe.

In 1957 he held his first exhibition at The Austin Hayes Gallery, York, exhibiting alongside Terry Frost who was already a celebrated artist. It was well received by eminent critics such as Herbert Read and Tirr went on to have numerous successful shows both in the UK and abroad.

In 1970 he began teaching as lecturer and later became Head of Fine Art at Leeds Polytechnic, where he stayed until his retirement in 1981.

His early works from the 1940s are sensitive and atmospheric and demonstrate an artist experimenting with a variety of representational styles. His later abstract paintings are both powerful and expressive and evoke the drama and ephemeral nature of the Yorkshire landscape that he loved.

Click here to view paintings by Willy Tirr

Untitled II