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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: Derek Hirst
Artist Derek Hirst (1930-2006) was born in Doncaster to a Romany mother and his father an agricultural labourer.
Derek excelled at school winning a scholarship to the Doncaster School of Art (1946-48) where he met his future wife, Ellen, from Denmark.
Two years later he moved to London to become a student at the Royal College of Art (1948-51).
In 1962 he had his first significant solo exhibition, at Tooth's in London. He was artist in residence at Sussex University in 1966. Has held many one man exhibitions. From 1970 on he showed regularly at Angela Flowers Gallery and then at Flowers East. He was in fact one of the first to exhibit at Angela Flowers.
His art was Ranging from Pop Art and hard-edge to soft, luminous blending of surfaces and tones, from doors and chairs to seascapes, Hirst's painting seems diverse in the extreme.
Examples of his work are held in the Arts Council collection and the Government Art Collection.
He spent time travelling too, becaming a passionate devotee of Catalonia in Spain, its landscape, its cities and villages and its culture.
Hirst painted reality - like the many gold doors in Spanish architecture, or the ruined armchairs found in a Yorkshire field, or the Sussex seascapes where he came to live.
He also taught part-time at various art schools, while Ellen taught art in secondary schools.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 1970 and a major operation followed in 1976. After remission it eventually returned in 1998 and from that time on he needed several operations until finally succumbing to lung cancer in Chichester, West Sussex 17th May 2006.
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