Donald Currie Grant, MBE (1930-2001)
Elephant Disturbing Hippo
Oil on Canvas
24 x 36 inches – 61 x 91.4 cms
The Estate of the artist
One of the 20th century’s foremost painters of wildlife, Donald Currie Grant was born in North Shields, Northumberland in 1930. His artistic talent became apparent at an early age, he sold his first painting when he was nine to the family doctor. While still at school he was complimented by the Duke of Gloucester for a large mural he had worked on in a public building and in the same year won a national drawing and design competition. His drive and determination to succeed combined with artistic passion was apparent early on when, at the age of 16, he was arrested on Biggin Hill airfield for stubbornly ignoring the camp adjutant’s refusal to allow him to sketch the aircraft. Undeterred he had climbed the barbed wire fence and produced in less than an hour a creditable watercolour study of a lone Spitfire standing on wet tarmac.
Grant continued to paint at every opportunity while pursuing a varied career. He served a long apprenticeship as a shipbuilding draughtsman learning to apply a technical rigour to his work, which stood him in good stead for the rest of his artistic career. This was followed by Army service abroad after which came periods as a technical illustrator, car stylist and freelance advertising artist, including commissions from Rolls Royce and B.S.A.
In the 1960’s Grant experimented with Hydrogen Balloon Flying and as a result of this experience produced a series of exceptional paintings of balloons in flight set against the majestic splendour of banks of cloud. One of his first balloon paintings was immediately accepted by the Royal Academy and sold.
Donald Grant is, however, perhaps best known for his detailed studies of African wildlife. He made regular visits to the African Savannah and whilst on safari made countless drawings and sketches perfectly capturing the light and atmosphere of the African grasslands. Lions, cheetahs, elephants, and zebra all are portrayed by Grant with absolute verve and masterful dexterity.
Donald Grant’s work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy, London and was also exhibited at the National Art Museum of Sport, New York in 1973 - 1976. His paintings have been shown in exhibitions in London, New York, Dubai, Monaco and his works are in major private collections throughout the world.