Born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1914, Felix Kelly left his home country for the UK in 1935, never to return. After training as a graphic artist, Kelly resumed painting in 1943 after serving in the RAF from the outbreak of World War II.
Kelly's paintings were influenced by the Surrealists, but his specialisation in domestic architecture saw him develop a romantic style that often included a number of recurring motifs such as red and white striped deckchairs, and items of mechanical engineering such as hot air balloons, paddle steamers, trains, and lighting fixtures. His paintings were meticulously executed: houses were painted to an architecturally accurate standard, but often contrasted with an untamed, almost sinister landscape that nodded to his Surrealist counterparts.
Kelly accepted numerous commissions before his passing in 1994, fulfilling projects in the UK, USA, Russia, North Africa, the Far East, and the Caribbean. In addition to painting he was often in demand as a muralist and interior designer. His most well known commission was the four murals painted in the Garden Hall at Castle Howard in 1982.
Kelly is represented in collections of the Royal College of Physicians, the National Trust, Museums Sheffield and Southampton City Museums. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa holds his archive of sketches and photographs.
Exhibitions at Gallagher & Turner:
101 Years of British Art
15 September - 21 October 2017
Drifters and Paddle Steamers
49.5 x 76cm