John Banting (1902-1972)
Signed and dated in lower RH corner
Double mounted, glazed and framed
John Banting was born in Chelsea, London on 12 May 1902. He made drawings and poems under the influence of Vorticism at the age of eighteen. While working as a clerk, he attended life classes at Vincent Square art school under Bernard Meninsky (1921) and the free academies in Paris, including the Grande Chaumière and Colarossi's (1922). By 1925 he had established a studio in Fitzroy Street and was associated with the Bloomsbury group; he made designs for Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press and for the ballets Pomona (1929) and Prometheus (1936) at Sadler's Wells. He was notable for shaving his head (a response to premature hair-loss), and for his relationships with Nancy Cunard and the poet Brian Howard.
In Paris in 1930, Banting was drawn to Surrealism, the results of which emerged in his exhibition at the Wertheim Gallery the following year. He shared Cunard's outrage at racial prejudice, stayed with her in Harlem, New York in 1932 and contributed to her Negro anthology (1935). In London, Banting painted and produced commercial and decorative designs; he also wrote and illustrated his satirical A Blue Book of Conversation (published in 1946). He contributed to the International Exhibition of Surrealism in 1936