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John Blair Anderson (1945-1997)

Biography of artist John Blair Anderson (1945-1997)

John Blair Anderson (1945-1997) was born in Glasgow and christened Henry John Keir Cross. In his late twenties, he reverted to his clan name and the maiden name of his mother so as not to "travel on the shoulders" of his father, who was the author and radio dramatist John Keir Cross.

At the age of five, Anderson caught the acute viral disease poliomyelitis. The devoted nursing of his mother formed an exceptionally close relationship between the two. At twelve years, Anderson went to Dartington School, where a pattern of self-harm culminated in a suicide attempt at seventeen.

The death of his father in 1967, a marriage break-up and the sudden death of his young brother in 1974 caused further psychological difficulties and forced his mother to seek the help of a Harley Street psychiatrist for her son. After three weeks of assessment, the psychiatrist advised that Anderson should be set up in a studio and left to choose how and where to become an artist. In 1975, his mother, with the support of her second husband, bought Anderson a cottage in Boston, Lincolnshire and the first tranche of a large supply of artist's materials. This was a turning point for Anderson, who believed that he could become an artist and from then on worked under the name of Anderson.

As had been predicted by the psychiatrist, he stopped taking prescribed medication and embarked on a progressive artistic path and he never attempted to take his life again. The early Boston landscapes are dark and moody in a style, inspired by Turner and there followed a pattern of influence from the canon of modern art.

Anderson moved to the family home in the South Hams in the early 1980s, married for a second time in 1988 to his regular studio model Heather and moved to a council house in Dartington.

Anderson was a handsome man, who was obsessive about painting, putting it first and foremost before anything else. He died from heart failure in Torbay hospital in 1997 and is buried on Dartmoor within the curtilage of his mother's home, as was his and his widow's wish.

His worked was widely exhibited including The Royal West of England Academy, 1977.

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John Blair Anderson (1945-1997) Related Lots

Lot FS18/425

Lot FS18/425: John Blair Anderson [1945-1997] - Heather, Wearing A White Dress, Seated in An Interior

John Blair Anderson [1945-1997] - Heather, wearing a white dress, seated in an interior painted circa 1988 oil on canvas 101 x 755cm.

Estimate: £500 - £700
Realised: £580