Anthony Palliser was born in 1949 of an English father and a Belgian mother. He studied at Downside school and graduated from New College Oxford. In 1967 he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. In 1970 he settled in Paris where he still lives and works. From 1995 to 1997 he taught as visiting professor at the New York School of Visual Arts in Savannah, Georgia. He remains a frequent visitor to Savannah and Charleston, SC. where the unique landscapes of the low-country remain a constant source of inspiration.
To date he has had 28 one-man exhibitions and countless group shows all over Europe and the USA. His acclaimed 1996 show “Performers” at Lincoln Center in New York showed his enthusiasm for the theatre and cinema. His well-known portrait of Graham Greene hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London and that of Paddy Ashdown in the House of Commons. He has also recently completed portraits of Kenzo, the poet Derek Mahon, directors James Ivory and John Boorman and is presently working on portraits of Seamus Heaney and Jim Sheridan.
For the last few years he has embarked on a series of very large paintings of heads. He has asked friends to pose, chosen as much for the diversity of their physical appearance as for the emotion they convey. Some are well-known, others not. The scale (162 x 130cms) allows for a much looser approach pictorially, the ambition being to abandon portraiture as such and be left with painting.
A book of Palliser’s collected works published by Editions du Regard in France came out in February 2005. To coincide with its publication, an exhibition of thirteen “Large Heads” was held at the Ricard Foundation in Paris.
A one-man show was held from October 2008 to January 2009 at the Jepson Center for the Arts , the contemporary wing of the Telfair museum in Savannah, GA.
In the autumn of 2012, three “Large Heads” were part of the inaugural exhibition of ELEPHANT PANAME in Paris..
“Many of Palliser’s still lives are like no other still lives I can recall…I have the impression that a portrait by him will seldom be merely a portrait- it will be a painting that contains a portrait.”
“There is a feeling for sacred objects in Anthony Palliser’s paintings which shows in his portraits and figure studies as well as in still lives.” Stephen Spender
“The model who searches the artist’s creation for the unfathomable secret of the self is toying with inner peril. Palliser’s portrait is a penetrating glance at the heart of that secret.” James Lord
“The ambition of painting Thought is probably as vain an enterprise as the aspiration to paint Time, but when Anthony Palliser decided to throw open the shutters of his atelier and leave it in the safekeeping of his beautifully-realised human and material objects, he found an obliging accomplice in the wrinkles of Nature and the necessary, criss-crossing place of humans…within those elusive folds of earth and sky.” Christopher Hitchens
“Palliser’s paintings are given to a sensual, erotic romanticism unlike much of our contemporary painting, British or otherwise. It is not so much that he has kept himself from the various streams and contemporary currents of painting in the past two decades but that he has kept with a kind of aesthetic faith whose tenets suppose a belief in the materiality of mysteries.” Frederic Tuten
“We do not need to know anything about any of the people Palliser paints in order to understand their essential humanity, to divine the spirit within them. Palliser has created a cumulative “portrait” of the living planet around him, its geographic surfaces as well as its inhabitants, its wide habits and varied habitants, rather than portraits of just individual images, specific faces.” Adrian Dannatt
“The portrait is disappearing now, wrote Yves Bonnnefoy in 1991, a bad sign for the future. The portrait hasn’t disappeared, any more than the landscape, but it would indeed be a bad sign if it did. It would mean we had lost interest in the unique human life with its unique vision, such a vision as is celebrated here with devotion and skill of the first magnitude.” Derek Mahon