British painter Paul Huxley (b. 1938) attended Harrow School of Art from 1951 – 1956 where he was coached in three central methods of printmaking (etching, lithograph, and block printing) before enrolling into Royal Academy School at the age of seventeen. From 1959, Huxley participated in various group exhibitions nationally and internationally, and after graduating from the Royal Academy in 1960, three years later Huxley held his first solo exhibition at the Rowan Gallery in London.
In 1964, British curator Bryan Robertson selected Huxley for ‘The New Generation’ exhibition at Whitechapel Art Gallery which included work by Bridget Riley, David Hockney and Allen Jones, among others. Huxley’s success in the exhibition meant he was awarded first prize in the Peter Stuyvesant Travel Award, providing him with enough money to travel to America. This became a significant turning point for the artist, having grown up with the influence of American culture. Spurred on with excitement about life in the New World, he was introduced to many of the leading American artists of the period including Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner and Jasper Johns; visiting their studios, and even forming lifelong friendships. As a guest of American abstract expressionist Helen Frankenthaler, Huxley accompanied her to visit the workshop of Russian American printmaker Tatyana Grosman in Long Island; Grosman now heralded as the founder of fine art printmaking in the USA. Many leading artists of the era, such as Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman and Jasper Johns, were gravitating towards her workshop and themselves discovering the possibilities of printmaking for the first time – a skill Huxley had already successfully mastered. In 1965 Huxley was awarded the Harkness Fellowship which funded a two-year residency in New York, resulting in his first solo show there. He rented a 100ft x 25ft loft which enabled him to realise his ambitions of scaling up his paintings and developing the direction of his work. By deconstructing the traditional monocentric format of American abstract paintings of the time, he created his initial studies for his so-called ‘key series’ works, which were seminal to the development of the divided canvases that have characterised his work ever since.
Huxley taught part time at the Royal College of Art from 1976, and was appointed Professor of Painting in 1986, when many now established artists such as Dinos Chapman, Dexter Dalwood, Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili worked under his guidance. In 1987, Huxley and Susie Allen jointly produced the show ‘Exhibition Road’, and the National Art Collections Fund (now The Art Fund) gave them an award for Outstanding Service to the Arts. That same year he became a member of the Royal Academy of Arts. On his retirement from teaching in 1998 Huxley was elected Honorary Fellow and Professor Emeritus and in 2000 he became Treasurer for the Royal Academy of Arts. He currently lives in West London, sharing the same complex of studios with Peter Blake and Ben Johnson.
Throughout the last five decades Huxley has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions all over the world, and has been included in many public, private, and corporate collections. Some of his most iconic commissions include sets and costumes for the Rambert Dance Company (1991), wall drawings for the entrances to Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (2001) and Charing Cross Hospital, London (2011), a room in the Azerbaijan International Pavilion for the Venice Biennale (2015), and an exhibition of work at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2019). Huxley’s work is included in a vast range of public and corporate collections worldwide, including Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Tate Gallery (London), Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul), and Museum of Modern Art (New York).
Huxley lives and works in West London.