Artist(s): Kenneth Rowntree
Author(s): John Milner
Year published: 2002
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Publisher Location: Aldershot
Total Pages: 88
Illustrations: 60 colour and 12 b&w
Often exhibited but seldom written about, Kenneth Rowntree (1915-97) is a significant figure in the history of British art and design. Of a generation now increasingly recognised and reappraised, Rowntree’s contribution is celebrated here for the first time in a book devoted to his work.
Rowntree’s art was closely bound to the events of his time. The Second World War linked the artist to government policy, demanding a genre that celebrated a British life-style then at risk and also a public art of communal experience and shared values. His ability to express humanity, wit and specific qualities of time, place and local style made his work immediate, intelligible and enjoyable in difficult times. The post-war vision in art, architecture and education provided settings for Rowntree’s experimental constructions and an adjustment towards design.
John Milner’s authoritative text establishes Rowntree in a historical context and probes issues such as war art, the interaction of art and design and the relation of figuration to abstraction in British post-war art. He also investigates Rowntree’s involvement with Richard Hamilton, Victor Pasmore, Quentin Bell and the Newcastle movement.
The first book to be published on this influential artist, Kenneth Rowntree is beautifully illustrated throughout and will be invaluable reading to all those with an interest in twentieth-century British art, graphic design and culture.