Spare, Austin Osman (1888-1955) by Scholes, Robert

Austin Osman Spare (1888 – 1955) He was born London on the 30th December, 1886. His father was a policeman. He left elementary school at 13 but had some formal instruction at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal College of Art and before exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the age of sixteen. In December, 1907 he had his first one-man exhibition at the Bruton Gallery. This show was reviewed very favorably by C. Gasquoine Hartly in the December 7 issue of . The New Age (NA 2.6:117) Early in 1918 the government decided that a senior government figure should take over responsibility for propaganda. On 4th March Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the , was made Minister of Information. Beaverbrook decided to rapidly expand the number of artists in France. Over the next few months the artists sent abroad included Austin Spare. Most of his paintings such as Operating in a Regimental Aid Post and First Field Dressing featured the work of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Daily Express Something of a mystic from the start, he soon became interested in automatic writing and drawing. He worked briefly with Aleister Crowley in the OTO (Ordo Templi Orientalis), but soon went his own theosophical way. His art has been compared to that of , , and . In WW2 he was wounded in a London bombing raid and could not work for some time, but began drawing and painting again in 1947. Goya Blake Beardsley

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