Skip to content

Peter Kinley
b. 1926, Vienna, Austria
d. 1988, London, England

Peter Kinley (née Peter Nikolaus Arthur Eduard Schwarz) was a British artist known for his semi-abstract paintings of figures and landscapes. He was born in Austria to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother, but in December of 1938, after the Nazis had crossed into Austria, his parents sent him to Britain on a Quaker-sponsored children’s refugee train. In Britain, along with the other refugee children, Kinley was transferred from safe home to safe home until Louis and Elizabeth Gaughan, a Roman Catholic couple, finally fostered Kinley. In 1944, once Kinley was eighteen, he enlisted in the British army to fight the Germans. Miraculously, both he and his biological parents survived the war; they were reunited on December 31, 1945, when Kinley arrived unannounced on their doorstep dressed in his British uniform.

It was the tidal change in Europe following the war that led Kinley to dedicate himself to art. He spent a year of independent study at Düsseldorf Academy, before enrolling in St. Martin’s School of Art. In 1947 he became a British citizen, and by 1951 he had regular shows at the London gallery Gimpel Fils. In 1954, Gimpel Fils gave him his first solo show, and by the time Kinley was in his early thirties, his work had been exhibited forty-five times. In 1960 and 1962, Kinley was given two solo shows at Paul Rosenberg & Co. in New York. His work can now be found in public collections worldwide, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Tate Gallery, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.