Desmond Morris

Work

Current Solo Exhibition: ‘Desmond Morris in the 21st Century’

“I did my first painting as the bombs were dropping in World War II”

14 October  – 12 December 2020

A catalogue and and price list will be available on request.

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

 

DESMOND MORRIS IN THE 21st CENTURY

Paintings and sculpture.

 

 “I did my first painting as the bombs were dropping in WWII” Desmond Morris

 Growing up during WWII, Morris is no stranger to adverse conditions. At his teenage home there was a reinforced metal cage under the kitchen table, where he knew to shelter when bombs threatened. This is where he completed his first ever painting.

Now aged 92, he continues to work during covid-19 for his forthcoming solo exhibition ‘Desmond Morris in the 21st Century’ at Beaux Arts London.

“Well, I think it was a sort of teenage rebellion in a way, but it was a creative rebellion. I didn’t want to smash windows, but I was pretty angry about the war.”

Known for his best-selling books The Naked Ape’ ‘The Human Zoo’ and ‘Manwatching’. Also, his TV programmes about animal and human behaviour.

However, Desmond Morris’ first interest has always been art.

Morris:
“When I was about 7, I went into the attic and found my grandfather’s microscope.
I brought it downstairs set it up on the kitchen table, went outside put some pond water on a saucer and placed it under the microscope. There were all these amazing moving creatures that I couldn’t resist drawing. They inspire me still”

Desmond Morris held his first solo art exhibition in 1948, now at the age of 92 he is still actively painting and writing. Today, most of his paintings are in private collections but he also has works in public galleries and art museums in England, Scotland, Holland, Italy, Israel and the United States.

He was asked recently to check his archives. He found that he has held 60 solo exhibitions of his paintings and 11 books have been written about his art. He has produced over 3300 paintings over the past 70 years.

All the paintings in the forthcoming exhibition will be illustrated in the Third Catalogue Raisonné of his work that will be published in November 2020.

His scientific studies of animals saw him take a B.Sc degree from Birmingham University in 1951 and a D.Phil from Oxford University in 1954. He then went on to do post-doctoral research at Oxford until, in 1956, he left to take up the post of Head of the TV and Film Unit at London Zoo. There he began to make TV programmes about animals and, later on, about human behaviour. In 1967 his book The Naked Ape was published and became one of the top 100 best-sellers of all time.

When asked to check his archives recently, he was surprised by the figures. As an academic zoologist, he published 48 scientific papers. When he turned to popular writing, he produced 360 articles in magazines and newspapers. He has written a total of 78 books, and has been published in 40 different languages. He has presented over 700 television programmes and has given over 470 television interviews.

Desmond Morris at 92 remains terrifyingly lucid, with a fearsome, inquisitive intelligence and a wicked wit. He says it is because he has been using both sides of his brain all his life; the scientific and the artistic. He is a night animal; he works late into the night and sleeps until noon.

He tells the story about a recent conversation with his old friend David Attenborough, when they mused about why they were still alive, and still working in their 90s.

“Why are we still here?” Morris asked him
“I don’t know” Attenborough replied
“Well did you ever do any exercise?” “No”
“Did you ever go to a gymnasium? “No”
“Did you ever eat any health food?” “No”
“Nor did I. So why are we still here?”
“Because,” Attenborough said eventually, “we are fascinated by this planet that we live on. And we are both so fascinated by it that we keep asking questions, and we never stop looking for new answers. And if you have a fascination for this small planet…..it will keep you going.”

Press
Desmond Morris in the Sunday Telegraph, Sunday 12 April 2020
Bio

“I did my first painting as the bombs were dropping in World War II”
Desmond Morris

Desmond Morris held his first solo art exhibition in 1948, now at the age of 92 he is still actively painting and writing.  Today, most of his paintings are in private collections but he also has works in public galleries and art museums in England, Scotland, Holland, Italy, Israel and the United States.

He has held 60 solo exhibitions of his paintings and 11 books have been written about his art. He has

produced over 3300 paintings over the past 70 years.

His scientific studies of animals saw him take a B.Sc degree from Birmingham University in 1951 and a D.Phil from Oxford University in 1954. He then went on to do post-doctoral research at Oxford until, in 1956, he left to take up the post of Head of the TV and Film Unit at London Zoo. There he began to make TV programmes about animals and, later on, about human behaviour. In 1967 his book The Naked Ape was published and became one of the top 100 best-sellers of all time.

When asked to check his archives recently, he was surprised by the figures. As an academic zoologist, he published 48 scientific papers. When he turned to popular writing, he produced 360 articles in magazines and newspapers. He has written a total of 78 books, and has been published in 40 different languages. He has presented over 700 television programmes and has given over 470 television interviews.

Desmond Morris at 92 remains terrifyingly lucid, with a fearsome, inquisitive intelligence and a wicked wit. He says it is because he has been using both sides of his brain all his life; the scientific and the artistic.

As a nocturnal animal he works late into the night and sleeps until noon.

Short films
Short Film Introduction to the Exhibition at Beaux Arts London
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