Leeds University Library
Farm on the Road to Montaione by Maurice de Sausmarez, 1965, oil on canvas. Private Collection. Courtesy of Jane de Sausmarez.

Maurice de Sausmarez 1915-1969

Celebrating the work of the artist, writer, teacher, educator and broadcaster - and first Head of Fine Art at the University of Leeds - on the centenary of his birth.

21 October 2015 - 20 February 2016

This retrospective exhibition marks the centenary of Maurice de Sausmarez's birth.

A prominent figure among mid-20th century British artists and educators, de Sausmarez trained at the Royal College of Art just prior to the Second World War. Part of the circle of Peggy Angus and Barnett Freedman and an active member of the Artists' International Association, he became a passionate advocate for the beneficial role of art in society and the duty of education to foster individual creativity at every stage of growth. His seminal bookBasic Design: the Dynamics of Visual Form, was first published in 1964. Highly respected as an inspirational teacher, de Sausmarez was an important participant in national discussions on the organization of art training and education, well-known as a public speaker and broadcaster

He moved to Leeds in 1947 when he was appointed Head of the School of Drawing and Painting at Leeds College of Art. Soon afterwards the University, which had just established its Gregory Fellowships in the creative arts, appointed de Sausmarez to help establish its new Department of Fine Art. He was the first Head of Department from 1951 to 1959. He went on to become the first Head of Fine Art at Hornsey College of Art (1959 - 1962) and then Principal of the independent Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting until his untimely death in 1969.

De Sausmarez's own art maintained the traditional genres of portrait, still life and landscape, using the motif as a starting point to explore its inherent geometry, light, colour and space. A member of the London Group and the New English Art Club, de Sausmarez's work was exhibited widely. From 1947, his work was also shown regularly at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibitions where, as an Associate Member (elected 1964) he also acted on the selection and hanging committees.

Drawing from the University's own collections and including loans from other institutions and private collections, the exhibition includes many of de Sausmarez's paintings, drawings and prints from all stages of his career, together with displays of archival material including photographs, manuscripts and notes.

The exhibition is guest curated by Dr. Hilary Diaper. 

Image:  Maurice de Sausmarez, Farm on the Road to Montaione, 1965, oil on canvas 61 x 142.5 cm (de Sausmarez Family Collection)

Associated events

Farm on the Road to Montaione by Maurice de Sausmarez, 1965, oil on canvas. Private Collection. Courtesy of Jane de Sausmarez.
Opening Reception: Maurice de Sausmarez 1915-1969
Tuesday 20 October 2015 18:00 - 20:00
The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery

In October every year the Education Room becomes home for two special displays when two groups of MA students from Art Gallery Museum Studies take over and create brand new interpretations. more...

Detail from Ariadne and Bacchus, by Edmund Dulac (1882-1953), watercolour, 1933
View details of past exhibitions and displays in the Gallery.