Brian Bradshaw (1923- 2016) was a Lancashire born artist who on assuming the chair of Fine Art at Rhodes University as Professor of the department in 1960 made South Africa his adoptive home.
Prof Bradshaw is credited with the establishment of the Grahamstown Group comprising students and ex students who developed a genre of painting rooted in the Eastern Cape and predominantly pre occupied with the particular landscape of the region. Brian Bradshaw has had a significant influence on many South African artists who passed through his department and his own work reflects a vision of the South African landscape which is unique in style and content.
The progression from his early work produced in the United Kingdom before coming to live and work in South Africa developed from drawings, etchings and paintings of the Northern industrial towns of England reflecting the working men and women and their surroundings in monochromatic tones, to the vibrant colourful paintings influenced by the African sun and the natural environments of the continent. His personal vision and execution of the medium of oil paint – rendered in a bravura style and are highly individualistic and represent a strongly identifiable signature.
His studio in Heidelberg in the Western Cape contained his life’s work from diaries and sketchbooks from his childhood, to drawings, etchings and over 150 paintings spanning his very productive artistic career. The studio contents comprise the archive now formalised as the Brian Bradshaw Foundation housed at the University of Pretoria where his legacy, art and influence can be preserved, studied and exhibited.
In 2013, Bradshaw moved back to Wales the country of his birth after spending most of his life in South Africa. Bradshaw died in November 2016 at the age of 93.
For more insight please read Jeanne Wright on Brian Bradshaw.