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Joash Woodrow (1927-2006)

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No. 41 by Joash Woodrow
No. 41. c. 1965
 
Biography
Born in Leeds, Woodrow was a painter and sculptor whose lifetime’s work, emerged following a fire at his home in Leeds in 1999. Until then, only his close family knew of Woodrow’s output. Within a few years it was getting national press publicity, Woodrow being hailed as a lost modern master. Woodrow attended Leeds College of Art, served in the Army as a cartographer, 1945-48, then between 1950-53 studied at the Royal College of Art. Fellow student friends included Frank Auerbach and Peter Blake. After a nervous breakdown, Woodrow returned home to live with his mother and brother, where he worked for nearly 50 years, reclusive and uninterested in exhibiting. Following their death, Woodrow continued to paint obsessively. After the fire, some 700 paintings were found in tightly stacked piles. A programme of conservation began, overseen by Andrew Stewart of 108 Contemporary Fine Art, Harrogate, which held a series of successful solo exhibitions from 2002. Leeds City Art Gallery showed his work in 2004 and in 2005 there was a substantial exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery and others at the Ben Uri Gallery and the Royal College of Art. More exhibitions followed. The mentally frail Woodrow, no longer painting, latterly lived in sheltered accommodation. Leeds and Manchester Art Galleries hold Woodrow’s work.