John Wells

Born 1907 in London, John Wells studied medicine at University College Hospital, his only formal artistic training from night classes at St Martin's School of Art 1927-8.

During a visit to Cornwall in 1928 he studied briefly with Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn and was introduced to Ben and Winifred Nicholson and Christopher Wood. He qualified as a doctor in 1930 and was the GP for the Scilly Isles from 1936 to 1945. During the war he was able to make occasional visits to Nicholson and Hepworth in St Ives where he also met Naum Gabo, who became a major and lasting influence upon him. At the end of the war he chose to pursue a career as a full-time artist, buying one of Forbes's former studios in Newlyn.

Though living in Newlyn, John Wells was at the centre of artistic activity in post-war St Ives being a founder member of the Crypt Group in 1946 and of the Penwith Society of Arts in 1949. His work was exhibited in London, Paris and New York. After 1964 his work had little exposure outside Cornwall until the revival of interest in St Ives artists, marked particularly by the Tate Gallery's 1985 St Ives Exhibition which included 7 works by John Wells.


# Modern British Artists