Owen Bowen (1873-1967)

Owen Bowen was born into a Welsh family in Leeds on the 28th April 1873. He showed an aptitude for art from a young age, guided by his elder brother Myles, and studied under William Gilbert Foster (the so-called 'grandfather' of the Staithes Group) at the Leeds School of Art. Foster had a great influence on Bowen, and it was he who inspired him to first visit Staithes and the Yorkshire Coast.

Bowen found short spells of work at a pottery company and a lithographers, before experiencing commercial success at the inaugural Yorkshire Union of Artists exhibition in 1888, where he won two medals in the amateur category. However, a disagreement with the Secretary two years later saw his expulsion at the age of only seventeen! After several successful years as a commercial artist, Bowen opened his own School of Painting in Leeds.

The artist first visited the Yorkshire Coast in 1898, when he spent the summer in Robin Hood's Bay, and it was here that Owen Bowen would eventually rent a cottage. It was not until 1904 that he was elected a member of the Staithes Art Club. Bowen lived a long and productive life, and consequently his work is often seen at auction. He travelled widely, to Holland, Austria, Scotland and Wales, and exhibited at many of the national societies, including the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (which he was elected a member of in 1916), and the Royal Cambrian Academy, of which he served as President between 1947-1954 (a role previously offered to, and reluctantly turned down by, James William Booth). He died in Leeds on the 17th September 1967, at the experienced age of ninety-four.
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