This is the text of a short address given by Gillian Ingham at The London Group’s Annual General Meeting in April 2015, shortly after Bert Irvin’s death.
Bert Irvin OBE RA 1922-2015
A few words in memory of Bert. A wonderful man.
His exuberant paintings hang in major galleries and collections all over the world so will live on for all to see – not just for now but for future generations… and just remember the size of them – some are enormous! I was cheered the other day to be sitting having a coffee in the Keepers House of the RA to see a quiet little Bert painting singing off the wall. Music was a great influence – he wanted his paintings to have the sense of time that music had, let alone the emotional context. I remember when I first met him he had got a new stereo system wired up so you could hear it in every room and he learned the 2nd Bach Prelude to play as his party piece.
He was elected a member of The London Group in 1965 and throughout his 50 year membership he has always valued and supported the Group through good times and quieter times. Not so long ago, during our Centenary exhibition, ITV covered it with a piece on their London News programme and he appeared in it, looking so very bright and sharp. He was very keen to put a work into the forthcoming Draw despite not being well himself and looking after Betty. 50 years in the Group is fantastic, but being awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to the Arts is a true reflection of the legacy he leaves the art world.
At a recent interview Bert was asked how he would like to be remembered. He smiled and said “I’d just like to be remembered”
And finally, Basil Beattie (his life long friend and previous London Group member ) in remembering Bert said of his huge paintings:
“They seem overwhelmingly to be celebrations of being alive and a true reflection of Bert’s spirit.”