Harry was born and grew up in Longsight, Manchester and spent much of his early life enjoying visiting the Derbyshire hills and moors. He took up art, with no formal training, in the 1930s, while working in an architect's office in London, after looking at paintings all over the city and meeting many artists mainly from Europe. Throughout the war years he lived in London, then returned to Derbyshire before moving to Cornwall in 1950. In Cornwall he lived mainly in Perranuthnoe and Marazion until the early 1960s, but travelled widely in the UK.
Ousey painted in all media and was very interested in collage. He had seen the Surrealists exhibition in London in 1936 which made a great impression. E.L.T. Messens was to comment on a collage by Harry and Kurt Schwitters was a great influence along with Paul Nash. He had been very excited by European art from the '30s and '40s and this reverberated in his work. He knew Peter LANYON in Cornwall days. He believed the only way to convey atmosphere was through abstraction, but this style was greeted with mixed reaction by the public. He did not like the way things were done at that time, and despised arguing taking place between the different artists and their ideas. He moved over near Marazion and then Helston to remove himself from the unpleasant atmospheres. He understood Lanyon's need to transfer his allegiance to the Newlyn Society of Artists (NSA).
Disillusioned with the Britsh Art scene in 1975 he and his wife Susie (Eleanor Made by formal name) moved to France and lived there until his death a decade later. Susie returned to the UK and it was not until her death in 1997 that his collection
came to light.
A large Collection of his work is owned and exhibited by the Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall (25 paintings), who rate his work amongst the finest in abstract paintings emanating from the St Ives school (B Stewart). A large oil on canvas is part of the RCM Collection.
His early work was destroyed during WWII, and any subsequent exhibition featured the abstract watercolours, oils and collages he produced in the 1950s and 1960s.
works and access
Works include: Edge 67 (1967); Edge (1967); Untitled (1974); Untitled (1975); Untitled (1980); Untitled abstract (1983); Untitled abstract (1979); Untitled abstract (1974); Untitled abstract;
Access: Falmouth Art Gallery (25); RCM (1)
2012: 'Effortless Brushstrokes', Falmouth Art Gallery 11 Feb - 14 Apr
misc further info
Family information (2011)
Falmouth Art Gallery, Permanent Collection (see website) 25 works held
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership
Stewart, Brian, Falmouth Art Gallery Monograph, Harry Ousey