Terry Frost

Sir Terry Frost was a British abstract painter known for his use of bold, geometric shapes and bright colours to create dynamic compositions inspired by the Cornish landscape. If you’re looking for original Terry Frost prints and editions for sale or would like to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network’s most in-demand works.

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Terry Frost was a British abstract painter whose artwork was informed by his love of colour, light, and form. Born in October 1915, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, Frost's artistic journey began not in the classroom but on the battlefield. As a soldier during World War II, he was captured in Crete and spent four years as a prisoner of war in Germany. It was during this time that Frost discovered his passion for art, turning to sketching and painting as a way of escaping the harsh reality of his surroundings.

Returning to England in 1946, Frost was determined to pursue a career in art, enrolling at the Camberwell School of Art in London. While studying under painters such as Victor Pasmore and Ben Nicholson, Frost encountered the abstract style that would come to define his oeuvre. A chance meeting with the renowned St Ives artist Barbara Hepworth in 1949 led Frost to move to Cornwall, where he became part of the thriving artistic community.

An abstract painting consisting of vertical lines in red, white, and black. The composition is divided by three horizontal sections. The top section features white with thin black lines resembling teeth, while the bottom section is a mix of abstracted vertical and horizontal lines in shades of grey, orange, and red.

Image © Sotheby's / Red, black and white, leeds © Terry Frost 1995

1. £313,250 for Sir Terry Frost's Red, black and white, leeds

Red, Black, and White, Leeds (1955) marks a pivotal phase in Terry Frost's artistic journey, conceived during his time as an educator at Leeds University until 1957. This artwork serves as a visual interpretation of the Yorkshire landscape. During this period, Frost relied on vertical elements to convey the vastness of the landscape. The deliberate choice of a monochromatic palette, punctuated by vibrant red and orange tones, enhances the sense of geometric abstraction, aligning with Frost's later mature artistic style. This seamless fusion of form and colour generates a dynamic and multi-dimensional experience, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the captivating world crafted by the artist.

The groundbreaking sale of this artwork, achieving a price of £313,250 (fees included) at Sotheby's in November 2011, solidifies its position as the most expensive work ever sold by Terry Frost.

An abstract painting with horizontal lines of varying thickness spanning the entire composition. Interrupting the lines are abstract geometric shapes positioned in the center of the canvas and near the bottom edge.

Image © Sotheby's / Red, Black and White © Terry Frost 1957

2. £250,000 for Sir Terry Frost's Red, Black and White

Red, Black and White (1957)serves as a product of international influences from Terry Frost's encounters with American painter, Sam Francis and French painter, Pierre Soulages. Drawing inspiration from these encounters, Frost combines elements from their respective styles to create a work of distinct character.

Soulages' influence is evident in the bold presence of thick black brushstrokes, which adds depth, texture and emotional intensity to the. Frost's engagement with Francis is reflected in the meticulously executed dripping techniques observed in the vertical elements of the artwork. These techniques not only add dynamic movement to the piece but also evoke a sense of fluidity and spontaneity.

Despite its smaller size, Red, Black and White captivates viewers with its skilful arrangement of vertical forms extending from the outermost edges. Through this deliberate composition, Frost succeeds in capturing a panoramic vista framed by the underlying structure of the landscape. It is within this abstracted framework that Frost's brilliance shines as he harmoniously merges diverse perceptions of the surroundings into a cohesive visual narrative.

In 2018, this artwork achieved substantial recognition at Sotheby's in June 2019, fetching an impressive £250,000 (fees included).

 An abstract painting with thin vertical lines starting from the left edge of the canvas. Black, red, and blue filled-in spaces create accentuated areas that extend towards the centre of the canvas. The remaining L-shaped section of the canvas features washed white paint and various horizontal lines.

Image © Sotheby's / Red, Black, and White © Terry Frost 1958

3. £239,400 for Sir Terry Frost's Red, Black, and White

Terry Frost's Red, Black, and White (1958) stands out as the third highest-selling piece in his portfolio, showcasing the enduring allure of this series and its robust market demand. This artwork realised £239,400 (fees included) at Sotheby's London in June 2021, highlighting its market prominence. The painting retains Frost's signature monochromatic style, enriched by vibrant red and blue accents, creating a captivating abstract composition. Frost's skilful use of thick white crosshatching and vertical strands lends the artwork a remarkable three-dimensional quality, breathing life into its visual elements.

An abstract canvas with slender vertical black lines in the centre, intersected by an abstract pentagonal structure.

Image © Sotheby's / Red, Black and White, Winter © Terry Frost 1956