Robyn Denny: the rebellious Sixties artist who disappeared

Baby is Three, by Robyn Denny, 1960
Baby is Three, by Robyn Denny, 1960 Credit: Robyn Denny

Artist Robyn Denny was cool personified. Then he vanished. Lucy Davies tells the story of a true rebel  

When Robyn Denny arrived at art school in London, in 1951, he might not have known exactly the kind of art that he wanted to make, but he certainly knew the kind he didn’t.

While fellow students slaved diligently over “awful art school compositions: interior with flowers, street scenes”, as Denny described them in an interview recorded shortly before he died in 2014, he busied himself with being radical, bucking at the smug sentimentalism that he believed was suffocating British art.

“One or two of our teachers said to me, ‘Are you with that Denny chap?’” recalls the artist Anna Teasdale,...

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