John Atkinson Grimshaw

1836-1893

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Status, Estimate and Price for the artist John Atikinson Grimshaw

Price of a painting: 3 100 – 607,000 €.

Price of a drawing: 900 – 28,000 €.

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First paintings and first successes

John Atkinson Grimshaw was a British Victorian painter born on 6 September 1836 and died on 13 October 1893 in Leeds, Yorkshire. He is known for his urban and bucolic landscapes.

John Atkinson Grimshaw married Frances Hubbard, a distant cousin, in 1856. But in 1861, at the age of 24, he gave up his work with the Great Northern Railway to become an artist against his parents’ wishes. John Atkinson Grimshaw began exhibiting as early as 1862, sponsored by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. His paintings mainly depict birds, flowers and fruit. He was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters and created landscapes of precise colour and lighting with realistic details illustrating the seasons. He later painted seasonal landscapes and achieved success in the 1970s, when he worked under the influence of James Tissot and the aesthetic movement. He bought a house in Scarborough in North Yorkshire which he depicts in many of his works.

British cities in the moonlight

John Atkinson Grimshaw painted mainly urban scenes of London, Glasgow and Liverpool in the moonlight in the 1880s. He likes to paint the fog, puddles, rain and smoky clouds of the cityscapes of Victorian industrial England. His depiction of fog is very realistic, giving the impression that moisture penetrates the clothing of the characters depicted. He works there in his Chelsea studio with painter James McNeill Whistler, who will say: “I considered myself the inventor of nocturnals until I saw Grimshaw’s moonlit images”. His latest works depict imaginary scenes from the Roman and Greek empires. John Atkinson Grimshaw also paints literary subjects by the poet Tennyson, whom he likes very much; he named his children after characters from Tennyson’s poems. He died of tuberculosis and is buried in St George’s Fields Cemetery (formerly known as Woodhouse) in Leeds. Many of his children such as Arthur, Louis, Wilfred and Elaine Grimshaw became painters. A retrospective exhibition pays tribute to him in 2011 at the Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate and then at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London, entitled “Atkinson Grimshaw – Moonlight Painter”.

Appraising and selling a painting by John Atkinson Grimshaw

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