JOHN SERGEANT (1937-2010)
John Sergeant trained at the Canterbury College of Art from 1954 to 1957. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1959, winning the Drawing Prize in 1962. He taught at Canterbury College of Art and the Dover and Folkestone Schools of Art until 1969, when his traditional view on the value of drawing was overpowered by the more fashionable view that it no longer held any significance.
Sergeant moved to Wales in 1981 and exhibited throughout the 1980s and early 1990s with the Maas Gallery. He began showing with Hazlitt Gooden and Fox (and subsequently with Jack Baer in association with other galleries) in the mid-1990s.
“It would be quite the expected thing, I suppose, to start this Introduction by saying that I have had a lifelong passion for drawing still-life. Nothing could be further from the truth; as a young art-student I disliked still-life. I couldn’t bear the very stillness; I just couldn’t see anything in it. … And so some forty years later, it gives me a slightly odd feeling to realize that drawing still-life subjects should now occupy most of my daily working life. … Following on from drawing still life, and quite probably as a direct result of it, came a growing and strong interest in design and in the abstract qualities in a picture. This led me to try and fuse two things, the objects and the abstract. I … spend ages composing and putting the objects together … but then my love of drawing details intruded: how unfashionable! … Obssessed, I draw in isolation, in silence, and very slowly until it is right and true as I can make it. Nothing more, those are the facts of the case’
(John Sergeant, from his introduction to his 1996 Exhibition with Hazlitt, Godden and Fox)