FAMAG 2022.7.8

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Mitchell, Denis (1912-1993): Tom Early, signed and dated 1947, Oil on canvas, 51 x 40.8 cms. Eunice Campbell Bequest 2022.

About the Artist

Denis Adeane Mitchell was an abstract artist who specialized in sculpture, often working in bronze or wood, although like many artists, paintings, prints and drawings by him still exist to this day. He was born in Wealdstone, Middlesex and moved to Mumbles, Wales with his mother and brother just one year after he was born. In 1930 Denis would make a trip to St Ives with his brother to renovate his aunts cottages and set up a market garden at Balnoon, Halsetown. Here he began to paint more seriously, whilst still visiting home in Wales. It wasn?t until 1932 that Denis met the St Ives artists. From here onwards he worked in St Ives, travelled and painted. He properly settled in St Ives in 1938 and during WWII he did his service in Geevor Tin Mine where he met Bernard Leach and Adrian Stokes through the Home Guard. After the war Denis became the principal assistant to Dame Barbara Hepworth between 1949-59, whilst still creating his own works and caring for his family. He was also a founder member of the Penwith Society of Artists in 1949 and at this time he began working in sculpture. By 1955 he was the Chairman of the Penwith Society of Artists and held the post for two years. The same year he left working for Barbara Hepworth (1959) he began working with bronze. He taught at the Redruth School of Art and Penzance Grammar School part-time between 1960-67. When he left teaching he began sculpting full-time and moved to join John Wells at his studio in Newlyn. In 1977 he was a governor for the Falmouth School of Art.