Alan Wheatley Art

Joe Tilson Artist Biography  British, born 1928

Born in London, Joe Tilson initially worked as a carpenter and joiner from 1944 to 1946, before carrying out his National Service in the RAF until 1949.

Joe Tilson went on to study at St Martin’s School of Art, London from 1949 to 1952.

Joe TIlson participated in the Young Contemporaries exhibitions at the RBA Galleries from 1950. He studied at the Royal College of Art, London. where he received a travel award to go to Rome in 1955, and travelled widely in Spain and Italy until 1957. From 1958-63 Joe Tilson taught at St. Martin's School of Art, London.

His first one man show was held at the New London Gallery in 1961, the 1960s seeing the burgeoning of his international exhibiting career.

In 1962 Joe Tilson had his first one man exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery, London followed by another one man exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool in 1963.

Joe Tilson had first of his several appearances at Venice Biennale in 1964 where his work first gained international exposure, leading to his first retrospective at the Boyman’s Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1964.

Joe Tilson was guest lecturer at the Slade School, London, and at King's College in the University of Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1962-63.

His typographical compositions combined visual symbols and words in an unusual manner. Between 1973-75 he had retrospective at Rotterdam and Parma. Further retrospective exhibitions were held at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada in 1979 and at the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol in 1984.

Joe Tilson was elected Royal Academician in 1991. A major retrospective, Joe Tilson: Pop to Present, was held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2002.

Public collections include:
Art Council of Great Britain, London
Boymans – van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Gulbenkian Foundation, London
Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Peter Stuyvesant Foundation, London
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tate, London
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Walker Art Gallery, Minneapolis, USA

< back to Artists