D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Art Collection

Victor Pasmore

Spiral Motif, Colour Etching, 1975. DUNUC ARTS:4420

Unfortunately we are unable to reproduce this image due to copyright restrictions.

Presented by the Art Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Victor Pasmore was one of the most significant 20th-century artists to draw inspiration from D’Arcy Thompson’s work. Initially inspired by the constructivists, in 1947 he abandoned visual representation in his art and concentrated on abstract forms, though still drawn from natural patterns such as waves and spiral forms. Herbert Read described his new style as “the most revolutionary event in post-war British art”.

It is not known exactly when Pasmore first read D’Arcy’s book On Growth and Form but his interest in spirals would undoubtedly have drawn him to it. In 1949 he taught at the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts, headed by William Johnstone, an enthusiast of D'Arcy's work, and in 1950 spent time at St Ives with Barbara Hepworth and other artists who had been influenced by On Growth and Form since the 1930s.  The Independent Group artist Richard Hamilton was similarly inspired and in 1953 Pasmore invited Hamilton to join him on the teaching staff of the Department of Fine Art in Newcastle.  There they introduced the new Basic Design Course which included many exercises based on On Growth and Form, particularly spiral designs.  This was soon taken up by art schools around the country, and caused D’Arcy’s artistic influence to spread rapidly. 


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