Simon Quadrat was born in London in 1946, the son of Jewish émigrés who separately fled pre-war Germany in the 1930s leaving everything behind. Simon remembers a truly cosmopolitan family life conducted in many languages, often all at the same time. His father settled into business after the war and they frequently visited Europe, even post-war Germany, to see family. His mother was both a painter and a pianist. Simon also painted and played the piano from an early age but he says he was a scholarly child aware that he needed to make his living.
Simon studied law at Bristol University and established himself as a criminal barrister in the Temple in London and then, from 1985, in Bristol where he continued to practice on the Western Circuit becoming Head of Chambers in the early 1990s. When Suzy his first wife died in 1996, his thoughts turned more and more to his passion for painting. In 1999 he remarried to Jenny and, with her encouragement, he gave up the law to become a full-time professional painter.
All his life Simon has studied art, wherever he went, reading books about it and drawing. He taught himself to paint in his twenties mainly by rushing over to the London art galleries and museums whenever he had a spare hour. The design and astonishing humanity of early Sienese paintings echo throughout his work. However it is the modern British paintings of the immediate pre- and post-war that are most clearly referenced in his work. His palette of palest blues, ochre yellows and burnt orange seem straight from the fifties, retro and hugely popular now. He paints his memories of growing up in post-war London alongside images he gleans from gritty archive images and documentaries made at the time particularly by the Free Cinema movement and the British Mass Observation Project. These authentic images help to feed his imagination and metamorphose into his highly distinctive multilayered paintings.
The faces that look out from Simon Quadrat’s paintings communicate directly with the onlooker. Their eyes seem to tell stories and even evoke memories. The paintings speak of common experience with an empathetic, gentle voice. They are informed by a highly intelligent and educated European mind. References to paintings and to stories are there to be picked up or not as the case may be. Simon Quadrat’s subtle yet daring use of colour and his way of laying on paint and scraping it away to create layers of texture and what could be called history within the painting create a quality of work that is a delight to see. Combined with his evocative subject matter this creates fascinating and desirable paintings. Simon was elected an Academician of the Royal West of England Academy in 2004, became Academicians’ Chairman responsible for the major exhibitions in the main galleries at the RWA in 2007 and was elected President in 2010. In 2012 he retired from the committee of the RWA and moved with Jenny to Wiltshire where he continues to paint. In 2015 he became a member of the New English Art Club.
- Anna Powell, Sladers Yard
17 July - 2 August 2019
Panter & Hall
11-12 Pall Mall
Monday to Friday
10.00 AM - 6.00 PM
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
CLOSED BANK HOLIDAYS
If you are interested in any of the reserved paintings, it is worth contacting the gallery as there is a chance that they may become available.