Bridget Riley was born in London in 1931. After spending the war years with her mother, sister and aunt in Cornwall, she studied at Goldsmiths College and at the Royal College of Art, and had her first solo exhibition in 1962.
Her art, which has been informed by the work of artists such as Piero della Francesca, Ingres, Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and Georges-Pierre Seurat, has always been concerned with optical effects. She painted her first completely abstract painting in 1961 and in the early ’60s worked exclusively in black and white.
After a period of transition in which she introduced sequences of coloured greys into paintings, she made her breakthrough into pure colour in 1967. The following year she was awarded the International Prize for painting at the 34th Venice Biennale, the first English contemporary painter and the first woman ever to achieve this distinction.
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