Adrian subsequently separated from the group as he was the only one to go on painting while the others created constructions. Adrian developed as an artist over the years and painted many beautiful paintings but there is no doubt that the early- to mid-1950s were his most innovative and important period. During this time his painting had a particular intellectual rigueur and tension.
In his subsequent development particularly the 1970s and 1980s his work became more sensuous with the appearance of abstracted human form in his pictures.
Adrian was in many ways a contradiction: politically conservative and establishment and a member of the Beefsteak Club, but artistically a radical. He believed passionately in the social value of art and in his abstract painting pursued an unpopular aesthetic. He never sought to be fashionable. With his wide knowledge of art theory and related philosophy he was an intellectual but in a country where intellectuals are suspect he carried his knowledge lightly. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of 19th Century French painting.
In recent years Adrian’s work, particularly that of the 1950s, has become more sought after and it is to be hoped that this in depth study of his work will further encourage recognition of his importance in a key period of British art and that he will at last be given the long overdue major retrospective at the Tate.
Available from Ashgate Publishing.
This article was first published in Fitzrovia News no. 127, December 2012.