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George Keyt

Born, 1901 in Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Died, 1993

From the catalogue Commonwealth Artists of Fame 1952 - 1977 (Commonwealth Art Gallery, London, 1 June - 3 July 1977): “For many years George Keyt has been one of the renowned and acclaimed cultural figures in Sri Lanka. He was born in Kandy, his mother of Dutch ancestry and his father of Ceylonese. Educated in Kandy he had begun to draw as a young child and in the early 1920’s he came to admire Tagore’s writing and Bengali culture. He studied Buddhism and Hinduism, lectured and translated Sinhalese poetry into English. From 1926 he devoted his time to painting, began to exhibit and, in 1929, painted directly from the nude model - an unprecedented activity in Ceylon. His reputation increased and in 1930 his work was shown, with Picasso’s and Braque’s, at the Zwemmer Gallery in London. In 1936 and 1937 books of his poems were published and in 1940 he completed frescoes of the life of Buddha at Borella, Colombo. With other established Ceylon artists he was a founder-member of the ‘43 Group and in 1946 he visited India when a major exhibition of his work was arranged in Bombay. In 1950 a monograph by Martin Russell was published. During the past twenty years important exhibitions of his work have been organized in New Delhi, New York and in London as well as in Sri Lanka and he designed a stained-glass window for his country’s pavilion in the Expo 67, Montreal.”

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Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1977

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»  Commonwealth Institute

London, United Kingdom