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Donald Hamilton Fraser was born in 1929 in London. He studied at St Martin’s School of Art in London from 1949–1952 alongside notable contemporaries such as Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and Sandra Blow. He was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1970, and became an Honorary Fellow in 1984.

Donald’s first solo exhibition was in 1953, and that same year he received a French government scholarship to live and work in Paris. For a time upon his return to England, Donald supplemented his artist’s income by writing for Arts Review. From 1958–1983 he taught at the Royal College of Art, working alongside Peter Blake and Julian Trevelyan, and tutoring future luminaries of the art world, including David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield. Throughout his career Donald contributed widely to artistic debate, writing as both critic and author. In 1983 he designed 4 commemorative stamps, celebrating 14th March, the Commonwealth Day. He was elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1985.

Famed for his abstract landscapes, Donald’s richly colourful works quickly established him as one of the most distinctive Modernist painters of his generation. Energy and vitality infuse his work, in which a dramatic use of colour creates an air of the unreal, while marks of his palette-knife technique lend rich texture to the painting surface.

His work can be found in the collections of the Royal Academy, the Government Art Collection, the Arts Council Collection and the Palace of Westminster, as well as in several other museums and institutions.

If I have learnt anything it is to trust one’s intuition wholly and unquestioningly.

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