SRI LANKAN painter and poet George Edward Claessen (1909-1999), one of the founder members of the Colombo ’43 Group, began experimenting with abstracts as early as 1948. He would later develop abstracts alongside his figurative work. By the 60s and up until his death in 1999, abstracts had become his definitive output. George Claessen’s daughter Esmeralda Claessen, will showcase an exciting range of his paintings at Paradise Road Gallery.
George Claessen was in fact the only member of the Colombo ’43 Group to embrace abstract expressionism during his career. While exhibiting with the ’43 Group in London and Paris, he also regularly exhibited at the New Vision Gallery from the 1950s to 80s, which at one stage was the only gallery in London that featured abstracts. He wasn’t always keen to sell his work and is famously quoted as saying, “I enjoy what I do. I paint with a sense of integrity. I never compromised. I don’t care whether I am known or unknown.”
Continuing his passion for art, Claessen received affirmation early on in his career when photographer and promoter of modern art, Lionel Wendt, who is credited with binding the founder members of the Colombo ’43 Group, bought all ten of Claessen’s works at the first ’43 Group exhibition in Colombo.
George Claessen’s Timeless Mirror is a collection of his abstract and figurative works, which will be exhibited at Paradise Road Gallery.