Weight was a Painter of portraits, figures and townscapes, often with
religious or literary subjects. Carel Weight worked at the Royal College
of Art, London, England, where he was Professor of Painting. Carel
Weight's work has been popular since the 1930s when he first exhibited.
Many of his paintings showed suburban settings in which unexpected human
dramas occurred. His work was sometimes humorous and sometimes angry.
Each painting's location was chosen specifically for its abstract
structure and this made Carel Weight's work very interesting.
Carel Weight was born in 1907 in Paddington, London to middle class working parents. Weight spent much of his childhood at the home of a foster mother, Rose Matkin, in Fulham, then a working class district. These formative years influenced many of his later works, which concentrate on areas of west and south London, including Wandsworth, Battersea, Putney and Clapham.
Weight's childhood also made him acutely aware of the contrast between deprivation and affluence, a re-occuring theme throughout his painting career. Carel Weight studied at Hammersmith School of Art from1926 to 1929. It was there that he met Ruskin Spear. Weight later studied at Goldsmith's College between 1929 and 1932 under Gardiner, Mansbridge and Bateman. Carel Weight held his first solo exhibition in 1933 at the Cooling Gallery and subsequently exhibited at London galleries, including the Zwemmer Gallery and the New Grafton Gallery, and in the provinces.
Carel Weight became an official war artist during the 1939 to 1945 war, though the War Office rejected one painting because it depicted people who were panicking. He combined teaching and painting after the war and helped his students follow their instincts, rather than encouraging them to follow him.
One great example of Carel Weight's work is his "Daisy in the Garden" painting (shown here). The mundane and depressing atmosphere of a typical urban back garden in south London on an overcast day has been captured precisely in this artwork. Weights open brushwork heightens the intensity of the scene. The bleak and dismal surrounding only increase the loneliness of the woman , making it easy to empathize with the walker.
Like many of Carel Weights paintings, this figure is painted in an urban setting and appears to be walking toward the edge of the painting. In other works Carel Weight sometimes includes spirits, ghouls, or witches. Most of his scenes are set in South London, where he lived and worked. Carel Weight formed a friendship with Kokoschka and exhibited at the RA from 1931, becoming ARA in 1955, RA in 1965 and a trustee from 1975-1984.. He was also elected RBA in 1934, LG in 1950 and RWA in 1954.
Carel Weight was appointed a CBE in 1962 and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Edinburgh University in 1982. Weight died on August 13, 1997 at the age of 90. Some of Carel Weight's work is currently owned by the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.