The Artist John Collier

Collier John – an artist of the English school, one of the best portraitists at the junction of XIX-XX centuries. Worked in the pre-Raphaelite style. His best works are distinguished by great solemnity, "weightlessness" colors, excellent use of light and colors.

John Collier: biography

John Maler Collier was born January 27, 1850 to a wealthy and influential family. He was the son of Lord Monkswell, judges of the Privy Council of Britain and part-time Amateur artist. John's older brother was the Deputy state Secretary for military Affairs and Chairman of the London County Council.
Collier, John studied drawing at the London school of fine arts of Felix Slade. Here he met his first wife Marian Huxley (Huxley), which legalized relationships in 1879. After the birth of daughter wife became depressed, which was treated in Paris. This also moved and John. He entered the Academy of fine arts. Soon, however, Marian is ill with pneumonia and died.
In 1889 Collier married Ethel Huxley – a younger sister of his late wife. The marriage produced a daughter and a son, who was the British Ambassador to Norway (1941-1951).. Is dead Collier, John 11 APR 1934.


Before he became the great portrait painter, the British artist spent a lot of time learning the basics of the profession. The basic skills he instilled in the school of Slader where a great influence on Collier had Edward John pointer.
Then John studied art in Paris (France), Munich and Heidelberg (Germany), Milan (Italy). Closest to the heart was the style of painting practiced by the members of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His idols and indirectly teachers were English artists Lawrence Alma-Tadema and John Everett Millais.
It was from Millais he adopted a method which is still adopted in portrait painting. Namely: positioning the model and the canvas side by side, looking at them from some distance and move back and forth to make the picture more realistic.


In the end, John Collier became a recognized master of portrait genre. Also he painted landscapes, paintings on historical themes, dramatic scenes. His work has been exhibited 83 times in the famous Royal Academy (London). More than one hundred exhibitions were held in other prestigious galleries, including Suffolk street, Society of French artists, the Royal Hibernian Academy.
Among his sitters were Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling, Prince of Wales (Edward VIII), Professor Huxley, the Duke of Cornwall and York, Lord chancellors, speakers of the house of Commons and other celebrities. His thematic portraits were not ceremonial. They expressed complex, filled with contradictions of the inner world of the members of high society. Display some dramatic situation (sometimes real, often imaginary) that caused the character to bare his soul before the viewer. It was his passion to show the true face of the sitter, whatever regalia he possessed that made the author incredibly popular at the turn of the century. The work of Collier is a perfect example of the picturesque approach to light, color and design.

Best works

Collier, John (photos of his works can be seen in the article) wrote a lot of paintings. Among the most prominent:
  • “Clytemnestra" (1882, 1914).
  • "CIRCE" (1885).
  • “Lilith” (1887).
  • “the Delphic priestess" (1891).
  • “the Ardennes forest" (1892).
  • “Glass of wine" (1893).
  • “Lady Godiva" (1898);
  • “Tannhauser venerini on the mountain" (1901).
  • “Sinner" (1904).
  • ‘Angela MacInnes" (1914).
  • “little Mermaid” (1923).
  • “Mrs Huxley" (1928).
  • “Portrait of the artist's daughter" (1929).


Collier, John was one of the 24 founding members of the Royal society of portrait painters. Later, he became its Vice President. He is the author of books “the Art of primer" (1882), "a Manual of oil painting" (1886) “the Art of portrait painting" (1905). Awarded the order of the British Empire in 1920.
Collier written many books. Sixteen paintings of John are now in the collections of the National portrait gallery (London), two are exhibited in the Tate gallery. A self-portrait of 1907 have been preserved in the Uffizi Museum (Florence).
Other works can be seen in private collections and public institutions. For example, a large and colorful painting “Clytemnestra” is in the gallery of the town Hall of the city of London. The painting "Death sentence" exhibited in the Art gallery at Wolverhampton city. His portrait of the Earl of Onslow (1903) is Clandon Park (Surrey, England). Rostov portrait of sir Charles Mander (the first baronet) – in one of the collections of Gloucestershire.


Critics have different opinions of the works of John Collier. In “the Dictionary of art" (1996) Jeffrey Ashton said that because of the peculiarities of the application of the smear (almost not visible) “the paint used is flat and boring”, but the expert recognizes that “Collier had a strong and surprising sense of color, resulting in the disconcerting realism, the mood and appearance of characters”.
“Dictionary of British portrait painters up to 1920" (1997) describes his portraits as “pictorial works with a fresh use of light and colour”.
“the dictionary of National biography" (1949) the works of Collier due to a special circumstance compared to the works of Frank Hollema. “His paintings of old people, men, women and children comprise the everyday life scenes are often very bright and fresh”.