Rosenberg & Co. is pleased to present Donald Hamilton Fraser, featuring twenty-two works spanning more than thirty years of the artist’s career (1953 – 1985). As one of the most distinctive British painters to emerge from the generation of artists following World War II, Fraser is known for both his landscapes and his abstract collage paintings, and was deeply inspired by Nicholas de Staël and the use of the palette knife.
The “symbolic language” of Fraser’s paintings finds its root in his first love: poetry. During his mandatory military service, however, Fraser experienced a creative shift, and the abundance of visual imagery in his poems began to concretize into paintings. With his service completed, Fraser attended St. Martin's School of Art from 1949 to1952. Although Fraser’s initial works contained figurative subjects, he began to experiment with abstraction during this period. In 1953, Fraser received a scholarship from the French government to study in France. This intensive year of study enabled Fraser to arrive at his own aesthetic gestures, working between American Abstract Expressionism, French Tachisme, and a signature style that straddled de Staël’s abstraction and a more poetic figuration.
The result of Fraser’s hybrid influences is an expressionistic, vibrant, and layered painterly style, juxtaposing color with geometry, and guiding his compositions with what he termed “a tonal and linear structure that would sustain the figurative elements.” In the early 1960s, Fraser turned toward more radical abstraction—citing the sudden feeling of “an intolerable limitation”—only to return to figuration later on. He never fully abandoned either mode, though, always grounding his work in an intense focus on color, as shown in the richly painted Table with Blue Flowers, 1957 and the harder-edged Untitled, 1968.
Showing at Gimpel Fils in London throughout his career, Fraser also exhibited at Paul Rosenberg & Co. in New York in the 1960s and 1970s.