Donald Hamilton Fraser RA

Donald Hamilton Fraser’s highly acclaimed work has been exhibited in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, and many other cities around the world. The list of galleries that own or have exhibited his work is phenomenal.

Donald was born in 1929 in London, and went on to study at St Martins School of Art; graduating in 1952. Since then Donald participated in many of the most significant exhibitions of British work including The Royal Academy’s 25 Years of British Painting. He had been a Royal Academician and a trustee since 1995 having been made a Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1970 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1983. He was also the Vice-President of the Royal Overseas League and the Artists’ General Benevolent Institution.

Donald’s predominant subject matter is landscape; he combined his Scottish descent and his affinity with French painting, which he developed during his study there in the 1950s. The two are greatly reflected in his style and execution, he layered thick, bright paint with a palette knife to produce an almost collage effect. The landscapes remain close to their origins whilst forming abstract, almost dream-like fields of colour.

Contrasting in style and highlighting Donald’s diversity are his wonderful chalk and wash drawings of dancers. Each one captures individual character and emotion which revealed his intimate knowledge of dance.

After much study and travel, including tutoring at The Royal College of Art, contact with the post war Ecole de Paris and a long relationship with The Royal Academy, Donald lived with his wife by the river at Henley-on-Thames.

Sadly, Donald passed away on the 2nd September 2009.

As one of Britain’s best-loved artists, Donald’s loss will be felt by art-lovers in the UK and beyond. When he was asked why he painted he replied, “I paint for other people. A discussion goes on between artists when they get together: if you were the last man in the world would you still paint? I wouldn’t paint, because I paint to communicate to other people, to say, ‘Isn’t the world a wonderful place, let’s share it.’ I would like my work to be a comfort, to reassure people that there is a better world and that it is within us.”