Alfred Daniels 1924–2015
The Bird Shop, Shepherds Bush Market 1954
Oil on board 35 × 46 inches (88.9 × 116.8 cm)
Signed and dated
EXHIBITED: Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, 1954 (no.478).
Born in the East End, Daniels studied at Hornsey College of Art and the Royal College. A regular solo exhibitor, and at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition from 1952, he enjoyed quick success on graduating from the Royal College of Art, with an important mural scheme for Hammersmith Town Hall (1952-54); other mural commissions followed, for corporations, universities and hospitals. At the same time Daniels was exploring narrative themes in his own paintings. Like fellow Londoners Carel Weight and Ruskin Spear, Daniels was an observant and sympathetic painter-poet of urban life. His main influence in the 1950s was not British art, but rather the Social Realist painters from the USA, especially Ben Shahn.
'Here is a young man whose selective eye is less conditioned than most by museums, L’Ecole de Paris, or current fashions. [He has] a singleness of vision as well as a poetic concern for the ordinary ... ordinary people doing ordinary things, neither romanticized nor dramatized ... The feeling of unsentimental sympathy is particularly strong … and the principal theme in his paintings is people in their everyday urban setting' (Charles Spencer, 'Alfred Daniels', The Studio, vol.153-4, July 1957, pp. 12-14).