Princess Diana and Julia Peyton-Jones talk to Andrea Rose, the British Pavilion Commissioner, whilst visiting Leon Kossof's exhibition
Princess Diana and Julia Peyton-Jones talk to Andrea Rose, the Commissioner of the British Pavilion, while visiting Leon Kossof's exhibition ©

William Feaver

Leon Kossoff was chosen to represent Britain and the Pavilion hosted his first major solo show outside the UK in 1995. 

Kossoff is an expressionist painter who was taught by previous Pavilion artists Frank Auerbach and David Bomberg. Renowned art critic David Sylvester chose a selection of his paintings from the previous decade and the exhibition featured portraits, nudes and cityscapes of London - these were common themes throughout his career.

Born and bred in east London, Kossoff keenly documented his surroundings. Christchurch Spitalfields, Spring (1987), now part of the British Council Collection, was one of a series of oils of an east London church painted in different seasons.

“London, like the paint I use, seems to be in my bloodstream. It's always moving – the skies, the streets, the buildings,” wrote Kossoff.

In another section of the Venice Biennale, there was an exhibition in 1993 entitled Young British Artists, showcasing a new wave of talent emerging in the early 1990s. The exhibition featured prominent figures from the YBA group like Fiona Banner, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Tacita Dean and Gary Hume.

Crowds around Princess Diana outside the British Pavilion
Princess Diana leaves the British Pavilion after vising the Leon Kossoff's exhibition ©

William Feaver

The cover of Leon Kossoff's catalogue in 1995
The cover of Leon Kossoff's catalogue, 1995 ©

British Council

Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Arts at the British Council, was the Commissioner of the Pavilion for the second time, with support from British Council colleagues Brendan Griggs and Richard Riley. 

Further information

You can read Britain at the Venice Biennale 1895-1995. Published by the British Council, 1995. Edited by Sophie Bowness and Clive Phillpot.