Fraser studied at St Martin’s School of Art from 1949 to 1952 alongside Frank Auerbach, Joe Tilson, Sheila Fell and Leon Kossoff. After graduation and a period in Paris he began showing regularly at Gimpel Fils in London and Paul Rosenberg Gallery in New York. He was fascinated at this time with Franco-Russian painter Nicolas de Staël and Fraser’s early abstracts demonstrate his influence.
In 1958 Carel Weight took him on as a tutor in the painting school at the RCA where he remained for the next 25 years, teaching alongside Peter Blake and Julian Trevelyan. His many pupils included David Hockney, Patrick Caulfield, Therese Oulton and Ron Kitaj. Fraser was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1970 and an Honorary Fellow in 1984. He was Honorary Curator at the Royal Academy from 1992 to 1999 and a Trustee there from 1994 to 2000. He served on the Royal Fine Art Commission from 1986 to 2000.
A respected ballet critic, he also developed a series of studies of ballet dancers that proved popular towards the end of his career, many being reproduced successfully as prints.