Theo Mendez (1934-97)

Paintings, drawings and textile designs from 1953-1988

1 - 29 May 2021  

Born in London in 1934, Theo lived his whole life in that city, as an artist and teacher.  He studied at Camberwell in the 1950’s as a contemporary of Terry Frost, Howard Hodgkin, Gillian Ayres and Ewan Uglow.  His work reflects the mid twentieth century, moving from figuration to abstraction.  The drawings date from the 1950's and the abstract paintings from 1984 which was the year he retired from his position as head of the Textile and Design Department of Camberwell School of Art.  Mendez had been a strong and inspirational teacher and the textile course became widely acclaimed under his leadership, launching many successful careers in the UK fashion and design world, including Georgina Von Etzdorf, John Galliano, Katherine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood. 

Theo had a passion for music, which he listened to constantly when painting -  French music, Debussy, Milhaud and Poulenc, as well as jazz and Argentine tangos: ‘sometimes the work comes directly from music, to which I listen for several hours every day, like food and drink, it is essential.  If I achieve anything at all, it has, for me, to stand lasting contemplation - mystical, intangible’.  

During his lifetime, Theo exhibited widely including at the Redfern Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Arnolfini in Bristol, the Bear Lane in Oxford and the South London Gallery.  

Untitled 4/88
mixed media on board
28.4 x 26 cm
£ 450 (framed)

Untitled, October, 1987
mixed media on board
38 x 33.6 cm
£ 480 (framed)

Composition Study, October 1987
mixed media on board
38 x 34 cm
£ 480 (framed)

Untitled, October 1987
mixed media on board
38 x 33 cm
£ 430 (unframed)

Untitled, May/June 1987
mixed media on board
34.8 x 28.8 cm
£ 480 (framed)

Meharis, 10/84
mixed media on cardboard
29.2 x 26 cm
£ 320 (unframed)

Untitled, October 1986
mixed media on card
27.7 x 27.7 cm
£ 450 (framed)

Untitled, 1988
mixed media on board
30.5 x 25.5 cm
£ 370 (unframed)

Untitled, August, 1988
mixed media on board
33 x 38 cm
£ 450 (unframed)

Near Place de Concorde, Paris, Feb 12th 1987
mixed media on board
18.2 x 31.5 cm
£ 400 (framed)

Study for textile
gouache and pencil on paper
£ 300 (framed)

Study for textile design
gouache on paper
18.5 x 12.4 cm
£ 300 (framed)

Study for textile, c.1950's
gouache on paper
19.8 x 19.5 cm

Study for 'The Pool of London', now in the collection of the Museum of London c. 1953
Watercolour and ink
11 x 24 cm

Cafe des Sports, July/Sept 1982
acrylic on canvas
110 x 91 cm
£ 1600