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Carel Weight (1908-1997)

Carel Victor Morlais Weight, was an English painter. Weight was born in Paddington in 1908. He studied at the Hammersmith School of Art from 1928 to 1930. At Hammersmith he met Ruskin Spear, who became a lifelong friend. At Goldsmiths College, between 1931 and 1933, Weight developed his preference for imaginative compositions. Teaching at the Beckenham School of Art allowed Weight to support himself throughout the 1930's. His first solo exhibition was held in the Cooling Gallery in 1933 and he later exhibited in some major London galleries and throughout the United Kingdom.

During the Second World War, Weight served with the Royal Engineers and the Army Education Corps. As an Official War Artist in 1945, he worked in Austria, Greece and Italy.


In 1947, Weight began teaching at the Royal College of Art, and was professor of painting there from 1957-1973. He was elected to the Royal Academy in April 1965, and senior R.A. in 1984.


Weight painted a number of acclaimed portraits, most notably one of Orovida Camille Pissarro, but also of less famous individuals. Many of his paintings showed suburban settings in which unexpected human dramas occurred, some of them humorous and some frightening. Each painting's location was chosen specifically for its abstract structure; the locations were usually actual places, but the figures were imagined and "grew under the brush". Weight wrote that his art was "concerned with such things as anger, love, hate, fear and loneliness", and said, "for me the acid test of a painting is: will the ordinary chap get anything out of this?"

Weight died on 13 August 1997 at the age of 88. Works by Weight are owned by the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Imperial War Museum and feature in the United Kingdom Government Art Collection. David Bowie bought and owned Carel Weight's Laertes (1979) as part of his private collection.

Carel Weight (1908-1997), Day of Rest

Carel Weight (1908-1997)

Day of Rest

signed 'Carel Weight'

oil on board

23.5 x 23.5 in. (60 x 60 cm)

29 x 29 in. (74 x 74 cm) framed


Leonie Jonleigh Studio

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