William Coldstream

Bruce Laughton

Publicaton Date
May 2004
Standard Number
Yale University Press
368 pages

William Coldstream (1908–1987) was a leading figure in British twentieth-century art, influential both as a member of the art establishment and as a figurative painter. This book is both an engrossing account of his life and analysis of his work.

Coldstream used art to portray real life, rendering his subjects—whether an urban landscape, a portrait, or a nude—with objectivity. In 1937 he co-founded the Euston Road School, and in 1943 he was appointed an Official War Artist and sent to Egypt and Italy, where he painted the war-torn landscape. Following the war he taught at Camberwell School of Art before being appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art in 1949. Coldstream remained in that position for twenty-five years, raising the Slade to the height of its renown and inspiring generations of students. After his retirement in 1975, he produced some of his finest works.