Albert Irvin was over sixty when his first work was acquired by the Tate Gallery. His stature as an artist grew out of a lifetime devoted to painting and understanding what it takes to make great art.
Irvin’s late and well-deserved recognition and success have fired his energy and ambition. Now approaching his seventies he continues to work on large and physically demanding scale and the sustained gusto of his painting is evidence of his constant zest for life.
The idea of life being a journey is a prominent theme through out Irvin’s work. This is borne out by the titles of paintings, which are borrowed from street names; initially he uses names near his studio in Stepney Green, East London, later from places where he travelled. These were selected for their capacity to suggest particular qualities or specific experiences. Nicholson Street, for example in Edinburgh, was chosen amongst other reasons as a tribute to the artist’s wife whose maiden name this is.
Albert Irvin is undoubtedly amongst Britain’s top artist, he has given us so many vibrant and resplendent paintings, which celebrate and affirm human values. This is a great triumph for this most warm hearted man.