John Piper was born in Epsom, Surrey and worked in his father’s solicitors’ firm until 1926. He later studied art in Richmond and London. Meeting Braque in Paris inspired him to make abstract art and to exhibit with the Seven and Five Society (1934–35). In 1935 Piper collaborated with Myfanwy Evans (later, his wife) on the pioneering review, ‘Axis’. He abandoned abstract art for Neo-Romanticism and during the Second World War, as an Official War Artist, he recorded bomb-devastated buildings of England’s disappearing architectural heritage. A versatile artist, Piper made book illustrations, theatre designs, ceramics, stained-glass and textiles. Retrospectives were held at the Museum of Modern Art (Oxford, 1973) and the Tate (1983–84).
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