Learn About the Artists

Albert Louden

1943-
English

Albert Louden
Untitled, 1988
pastel on board
British

Albert Louden was born in Blackpool, England in 1943. His family had been sent there during the war, but afterwards they returned to the London’s East End where Albert continues to live. Early on, he did not have any aspirations to become an artist, but recalls a day in primary school when the class was instructed to draw a mountain. His was completely different from anything anyone else had done, and as he grew up, he felt that art was the only thing that he really had an aptitude for.

Leaving school at age fifteen, Louden worked at a variety of jobs, including about sixteen years as a van driver. But when he was nineteen, he became devoted to creating art. His earlier works were drawings and watercolors; later he moved to pastels and oil paints. He works on a board or canvas on a floor instead of an easel, and prefers to work at home rather than a separate studio. Through the more than forty years that he has been painting, his primary subjects are landscape, abstract, and figural pieces.

Louden’s earliest pictures were landscapes, but the compositional elements were a problem - it was too difficult to decide what to include and what not to. He said, “There is so much there, so much going on down to the insects coming out of the earth. I felt dishonest, there is so much I couldn’t contain.” But, a trip to Switzerland in his late-teens for a weight-lifting competition changed that. Sitting in a cable car in the Alps, he realized that the landscape, “…was an abstraction that I couldn’t usually see…it was there that my realism changed…even the houses, you don’t need the windows anymore, they are only masses of color, of abstraction. And I think that it’s there that the ‘internal landscapes’ began…” (1)

The process of creating art is unselfconscious for Louden. It is unplanned and unknown what the final outcome will be. Asked if he has any idea what the picture will turn out like, he says, “When I try to hold onto images and experiment, even something as straightforward as a tree, when I try to paint it – can’t do it, and anger comes over me and the tree is forgotten; it becomes something else – hair!”(2) Louden also comments on the figures that inhabit his ambiguous, intriguing paintings: “I find that certain things aren’t there for the people in my drawings, there’s no attachment. Even though they are linked, there’s a sort of separation that I see in them.”(3)

Louden’s work was championed by Victor Musgrave, whom he met in 1979, and his artistic introduction to London culminated in a 1985 exhibition at Serpentine Gallery. The show was well-received, and every piece was sold. An avid art viewer, Louden regularly visits museums and galleries and has a collection of books on 19th and 20th century art. He has a great love of color, and admires in particular the work of Francis Bacon, L.S. Lowry, and Scottie Wilson, but his work remains uninfluenced and non-derivative. Art critic John Russell Taylor commented: “A Louden painting is immediately recognisable because it does not look like anybody else. This seems to be a basic requirement of genuine art, but it is surprising how few known artists can live up to that.”(4)

ENDNOTES

1. Betsy Wells Faber. “Of Landscapes and Keeping Pigeons: Discussions with Albert Louden” in Portraits from the Outside(Grœgfeax Publications, 1990), 80.

2. ibid., 82

3. ibid.

4. Colin Rhodes. “Albert Louden: Recent Works”, gallery review in Raw Vision, #38, Spring 2002, pg. 65-7

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