John Craxton is the son of the composer and musician Harold Craxton. He attended Betteshanger School and at just 10 years of age exhibited in the Bloomsbury Gallery.
He then studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and with the outbreak of the 2nd World War in 1939 returned to London to complete his studies, attending Westminster School of Art and the Central School of Art. When he was rejected for military service in 1941 he attended Goldsmiths College.
In 1942 he had his first solo exhibition in London at the Swiss Cottage Café. Two years later came a solo show at the Leicester Galleries in 1944.
He travelled extensively after the war including stays in Greece and Crete. Nearing his 50th birthday, he settled permanently in Crete. He still lives part of the year there; the other part in London.
The biggest retrospective show of his work came in 1967 at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. His work has always had a romantic theme running through it.
He has also undertaken ballet design and book illustration.
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