Paul Feiler, 1918 - 2013

“He’s a very special kind of painter because really his entire career, he lived for 95 years – was in this restless pursuit of bringing the audience in to his way of seeing the world." Kate Bryan, art historian, writer & curator

The paintings of Paul Feiler were inspired by the English landscape, particularly the cliffs and inlets of the coast of south-west Cornwall.

Feiler’s vision was based on the understanding that ‘you stand vertically, and you look horizontally’; through this he aimed to fulfil Cézanne’s requirement that ‘a picture should give us… an abyss in which the eye is lost.’

He moved from painterly abstraction to an exploration of the elusive nature of space through the effects of narrow bands of colour, silver and gold in a pattern of square and circle, which he varied and developed over more than forty years.

Paul Feiler was a German-born British painter and printmaker and is one of the foremost figures of the Modern Art movement emanating from the South-West of England, centred in St Ives.

Born in 1918, in Frankfurt, Feiler came to England in 1933 and studied from 1936 to 1939 at the Slade School. Interned in Canada at the outbreak of the Second World War, Feiler returned to Britain in 1941 to begin his career as an artist. From 1941-1975 he taught art at the combined Colleges of Eastbourne & Radley and West England College of Art. He then lived and worked in Newlyn, Cornwall.

Originally associated with the post-war Modernists in St Ives, by 1953, Feiler moved permanently to Cornwall. Inspired by the Cornish light and landscape, his painting during this and the following decade became influenced by Abstract Expressionism, drawing on external sources, using light, tone and space to render an environment in pictorial terms.

During the 1970s the character of Feiler’s work changed dramatically. He began painting thinly glazed surfaces of mechanically organised geometric forms. Meditative paintings relating to recessive spaces and projecting forms developed from themes of ‘the hidden’ and ‘the shrine’.

David Bowie was a collector of his works.