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Bryan Pearce
(1929 — 2007)

Bryan Pearce was a British painter. Born in St Ives, Cornwall in 1929 Pearce was encouraged to begin painting, initially in watercolours, by his mother in around 1953. Pearce found that he had a great aptitude for painting, and enrolled in the same year at the St Ives School of Painting where he studied until 1957. The artist first participated in a group show in 1958 in London, which was shortly followed by his first solo exhibitions at the Newlyn Gallery, Penzance in 1959 and at the St Martin’s Gallery, London in 1962. Pearce’s work generated much acclaim in the early stages of his career. His earlier dependence on watercolours had swiftly been replaced by a preference for oils during his studies, and the resulting works of the mid-1960s – primarily depicting the artist’s hometown of St. Ives – were markedly bright and colourful. His distinctive compositions are commonly considered to be among the foremost examples of naïve art.


In 1966 Pearce’s popularity and creative output was such that his first retrospective exhibition was held at the Penwith Gallery, St Ives. Pearce was a member of both the Penwith Society of Arts and the Newlyn Society of Arts. In the early 1970s Pearce began to experiment with different media, including etching and printmaking alongside several of his Cornwall contemporaries. In 1975 the artist participated in the British Drawing Biennale, and was later included in the influential 1985 exhibition ‘St Ives 1939-64’ at the Tate in London. St Ives played an important part in Pearce’s professional and personal life, inspiring and nurturing the artist throughout his life and career. In the early 1990s Pearce contributed significantly to the fundraising project which gave life to the Tate Gallery St Ives, and continued to donate paintings and etchings to raise funds for several other local cultural refurbishments and developments. He continued to paint late in to his life, until his death 2007. His work remains in the collections of the Tate, and the Arts Council England, among others.