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Portrait of Martin Wickramasinghe

95 x 85 cm
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated, 1973

Richard Gabriel

Richard Don Gabriel (1924-2016) was a Sri Lankan artist. Born in Matara, Gabriel studied at St. Peter’s College in Colombo. In 1943, he took part in the Government Information Department competition of paintings for the Ceylon War Effort and won the princely sum of Rs. 200 for the four paintings he had submitted. At the age of 19, Gabriel was hired as an art teacher at St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. Later on, he also taught at the Cora Abraham Art School. In 1952 he was awarded a British Council scholarship to study at the Chelsea School of Art.

Gabriel was the youngest member of the ’43 Group, a group of artists who made a significant impact by melding traditional art forms with the modernity of the West to present a distinctively Sri Lankan experience. Over the course of his long career, he experimented with linocuts and wood cuts, etchings, sculptures and wall murals. He was made an honorary member of the Michelangelo Academy of Florence in recognition of his work with woodcuts and etchings. A deeply religious man, Gabriel did many paintings and murals for churches around the country.