A British painter, designer, and silk-screen printer known for his association with David Bomberg and the Borough Group. Born in Manchester he studied agriculture and Vetinary science at Reaseheath School of Agriculture in Nantwich.
In 1944 Holden met David Bomberg at the City Literary Institute in London and a year later he followed Bomberg to Borough Polytechnic where he was teaching. As a result of discussions with Bomberg, Cliff Holden conceived the idea of the Borough Group which was established in 1946. Other founder members of the Group were Edna Mann, Dorothy Mead, and Peter Richmond. Holden was nominated and elected the first President of the Group – at Bomberg’s suggestion - during 1946-48. Bomberg then succeeded to the presidency and the group extended to eleven members. The Borough Group was active for five years until disbanding in 1951, by which time they had organised more than seven exhibitions. The purpose of the Borough Group was to work out the ideas that Bomberg promoted, and provide a platform for furthering those ideas.
During the years 1952-62, Cliff Holden contributed articles to: Konstrevy, Paletten, Konstperspektiv, Art News and Review, Studio International. He also gave BBC Radio talks on Bomberg and Swedish art. Holden's memorial tribute to David Bomberg, broadcast on the BBC Third programme in 1958, was described a decade later by the art critic David Sylvester as 'the most useful analysis of Bomberg to have appeared'. For many years, Holden has promoted cultural exchanges between Sweden and England, and he was instrumental in bringing the work of Evert Lundquist to international attention.
Holden met the Swedish artist Torsten Renquist who invited him to exhibit in Sweden and from 1956 Holden lived and worked permanently in the country.He founded a design studio together with Lisa Grönwall and Maj Nilsson, which moved to Marstrand in 1959. The trio became internationally known as the Marstrand Designers and received many awards. In 1984 the studio moved to a village near Falkenberg. There Holden additionally established a school of painting and drawing - the Hazelridge School of Painting - Hässlås Målarskola - where Holden continued to paint and also inspired visiting art students.
Holden was a member of the London Group, a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers and the Free Painters and Sculptors. He was also a design associate of the American Institute of Interior Designers. He received an honorary doctorate from London South Bank University in 2006.
The collections of the Arts Council, Manchester City Art Gallery, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Tate Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum include work by Holden.
Holden died in April 2020 at the age of 100