Alan Halliday, (b. 1952) is an internationally established British artist, (see The Dictionary of British Artists since 1945). Writing in The Times, the art critic John Russell Taylor said, “Halliday paints what obsesses him. His style is boldly calligraphic. Even his large-scale oil paintings depend largely on the definition of effective line while his smaller works in ink, gouache and pastel are built on a structure of amazingly fluid, spontaneous strokes of the pen; but they are in fact more than that. While the line may define the form, it is the colour which gives it form and life.”
Halliday has been a successful professional artist for more than 30 years, holding more than 100 exhibitions in the USA, Europe, India and the Middle East. His paintings are in the collections of the following London museums: Victoria & Albert Museum; the Theatre Museum, The Museum of London as well as several Oxford colleges and the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, USA. His paintings are also acquired by collectors worldwide.
Trained at the Courtauld Institute of Art at London University, (1970-74), in 1982 Halliday was awarded a doctorate in the history of art by Oxford University. His first mentor was John Piper, the distinguished British neo-romantic painter. Piper encouraged the young artist to build up an extensive archive of sketchbooks to draw on for future use and summed up Halliday’s style: “an arrangement of painted marks, all on the surface and yet all in depth”.
Halliday now lives in France, by the Loire. His output includes large semi-abstract oils on canvas, as well as larger and smaller works on paper. Exhibited exclusively worldwide by Camburn Fine Art, in France Alan Halliday is a member of La Maison des Artistes, and in 2011 he was made ' Un Invité des Amis de Marcel Proust (see, Proust Ink).
Arguably the best interpreter of theatre performances since Walter Sickert, Halliday has produced a body of work which has involved all the major ballet companies including the Bolshoi, the Mariinsky and the Royal Ballet, Bejart, Stuttgart Ballet Dutch National Ballet, new York Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet (artist-in-residence there in 1996), the Caracalla Dance Theatre in Beirut and English National Ballet where he is still resident artist; theatre companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal National Theatre, the Peter Hall Company at the Old Vic, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.
Some comments on Halliday’s paintings of the theatre:
“Halliday’s paintings have a freedom and lightness about them and get to the essence of the subject.” Alan Bates, actor.
“His work has a verve and immediacy, brilliantly capturing the magic that is the very essence of the performing arts. Dancers, actors, singers are caught in the act with Alan’s dashing brush and pen”. Derek Granger, film producer of Brideshead Revisited.
“Theatre is almost impossible to record, but Halliday’s paintings are alarmingly successful. They have the accuracy of observation, selectivity of memory and the intensity of imagination. They are what it was like.” Philip Franks, RSC actor and National Theatre director.
For the Oscar-winning film, 'Shakespeare in Love', Halliday was the on-set artist for four months during the making of the film at Shepperton Studios. The BBC also commissioned him to draw and paint their television adaptations of classic novels such as 'Tom Jones', 'Love in a Cold Climate', 'Great Expectations' and 'David Copperfield'. In 1994 he was commissioned by the BBC to draw all the concerts that season at the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts.
Outside the theatre, over the years Halliday has been commissioned to paint scenes of disaster such as the war in Beirut in the 1990s; the IRA City bomb explosion in London; the burning of St. George’s Hall at Windsor Castle, and the devastation at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, following the Great Storm of 1987. If you are interested in commissioning work, or if you would like to see more paintings of a particular subject, please contact us.
Technically, Alan Halliday is an outstanding draftsman and colourist who works by eye alone and has no need of a camera. One of the leading artists of his generation, his deep understanding of the art of the past combines with his own natural ability and fluent, painterly touch, enabling him to produce paintings of great beauty and power.
Camburn Fine Art, Halliday's works on Proust
Here are featured a few of Halliday's magnificent works: