Angela Flowers, gallerist who promoted British Modernism, 1932–2023

Angela Flowers in the Lisle Street gallery, 1970. Photo: Adrian Flowers. Courtesy Flowers Gallery

Angela Flowers, founder of London’s long-running Flowers Gallery, has died.

Flowers first started selling art in 1970 from a room belonging in the headquarters of the non-profit collective Artists International Association in Chinatown. In her first eighteen months she showed Tom Phillips and Derek Hirst, artists who continue to the represented by the gallery and were typical of a taste that skewed towards Modern over contemporary art.

She subsequently moved and expanded the gallery at a number of London addresses, settling at its present premises on Cork Street in 2000. The gallery opened Flowers East in Hackney in 1988, then established a presence in the US in 1998 – first Los Angeles before moving to New York – and opened a Hong Kong gallery in 2020.

The British abstract painter Prunella Clough, sculptor Nicola Hicks, known for her plasters straw works, and kitchen sink painter Jack Smith are among the gallery’s current roster.

Flowers also promoted large format photography, with Edward Burtynsky, Sebastião Salgado, Robert Polidori, Nadav Kander and Edmund Clark given shows.

Speaking of her career to the Financial Times in 2020, Flowers said she was driven by doing something against the status quo of the 1970s British art world: ‘All I was interested in was my own idea. I always say it sprung from the pomposity of places like the Marlborough’.

Angela’s son Matthew Flowers became the gallery’s managing director in 1989.

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