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John Banting portraitBorn in 1902, John Banting studied at Westminster School of Art, although the most important event in his artistic development was a visit to Paris in 1930 where he met leading surrealist artists of the time. He was one of few British artists to embrace surrealism before the war and held his first solo show in 1931. Five years later he exhibited at the seminal International Surrealist exhibition in London.

Declared unfit for war, Banting worked as an art director for the Ministry of Information alongside Dylan Thomas, though he fell into severe poverty living in Ireland and was saved only by a grant acquired from the Artists’ Benevolent Fund by Julian Trevelyan in 1947. Over the next twenty years, despite producing fewer and fewer paintings, he frequently contributed earlier pieces to Surrealist exhibitions. Banting died in Hastings in 1972.
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