Peter Kinley had immediate acclaim early in his career, exhibiting his first one man show at Gimpel Fils in 1954. Kinley studied at Düsseldorf Academy 1948-9 and at under David Bomberg at St Martin's School of Art from 1949-53 with Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, exhibiting in the seminal 'Six Young Contemporaries' exhibitions at Gimpel Fils in 1951 and 1953. Like so many other British artists - Patrick Heron & Peter Lanyonto name a couple - the famous Nicolas De Staël exhibition held at Matthiessen in 1952 was a great influence in his early career. Kinley's thickly impastoed canvases were a perfect fit for the fashionable late 1950s, where his impastoed figurative work was exhibited and being collected internationally alongside Auerbach and Kossoff, and others from this golden era of British Abstraction - like Sandra Blow, Peter Lanyon, Paul Feiler, Harold Cohen and Robyn Denny. In 1961 Kinley joined the important New York dealer Paul Rosenberg & Co (as his great influence Nicolas de Staël had in the early 1950s). However, like many, as the Sixties developed, his style changed and family priorities took over, leading to his market prominence fading.
This work is from the same series and year as the 'Sleeping Figure' now in the Albright-Knox Gallery. Seymour H. Knox was astute enough to purchase a number of great works from Gimpel Fils in the late Fifties - including Robyn Denny, Sandra Blow, Robert Adams, Barbara Hepworth and Peter Lanyon - leading to the museum having one of the great collections of 1950s British Art outside of the UK. The collection perfectly compliments their holdings of American artists from the same era such as Hans Hofmann, Grace Hartigan, David Smith, Joan Mitchell & Michael Goldberg and Helen Frankenthaler to name a few. Indeed the same is true for Joseph Hishhorn whose collection from the same era forms the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection in Washington where a similar Peter Kinley also now resides nearby to some of the great works by Barbara Hepworth.