Joash Woodrow was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire of Polish Jewish parents, and was one of eight siblings. He studied at Leeds College of Art, and from 1950 – 1953 the Royal College of Art, where his contemporaries included Peter Blake and Frank Auerbach.
Shortly after graduating, Woodrow suffered from a nervous breakdown. He returned to his parents home in Chapel Allerton, where he would remain for much of his life. From this time onwards, and virtually unknown to the wider art establishment, he painted prolifically; over seven hundred paintings, including numerous large works and thousands of drawings and sketches were discovered in his studio and filling his house when in 2001 he became too ill to cope living on his own. His personal style and subject matter (suburban landscape paintings in Leeds) developed in the 1970s and 80s.
Woodrow occasionally worked on unusual materials – some oil paintings were produced on improvised canvasses of hessian from coal sacks, or cardboard boxes.
The first exhibition of his work was held at Harrogatein 2001, followed by retrospectives in Leeds, Manchester and the Royal College of Artin October 2005. His story has attracted press interest, and was covered in The Times and Spectator magazine as well as the Yorkshire Postand Whitby Gazette]. In October 2009 thirty of his paintings were shown at The Fine Art Gallery, London.
Woodrow died in a Manchester hospital in February 2006.
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