Simon Klein, Artist

Artistic Chronology and Biographical Notes

Simon Klein lives and paints in Richmond, Greater London.

He graduated from the Slade School of Art with a B.A. Hons in 1982, and in 1997 gained a M.A. in Contemporary Fine Art Practice at Kingston University London.

He teaches at Kingston College, where he has been a part-time lecturer since 1991.

Simon Klein Photo: Branka Jukic


The Student Years 1975-1982

Girl in Room 1978, oil on canvas 122×152 cms (detail)

My mother was a painter who loved classical art, which somehow connected me to Burne-Jones, but at 17 oil painting, Impressionism and the Fauves happened simultaneously for me.

Before that I had just been drawing. At the Slade much of my time was spent working from the life model. Studied Cézanne with Lawrence Gowing for my thesis.

Married Françoise in 1980.

Last year of the Slade working from Françoise in her first pregnancy early in the morning before she went to work.

New Image 1982-1988

The Annunciation 1983, Acrylic on unstretched canvas, 180 x 356 cms.

My take on New Image was partially influenced by my brother, Paul Pagk and his friends working in Paris at the time.

I worked on large un-stretched cotton duck canvases on a rough brick wall in a shop basement, painting with powder pigment mixed in acrylic.

The paintings were often from Biblical narratives and sometimes used as part of the worship at the church Françoise and I attended at the time.

Observation / Figuration 1992-1993

Sussex Downs 1993. Oil on canvas, 76 x 136 cms.

Teaching at Kingston College and painting 5-ft canvasses strapped to easels and trees.

The ones that worked were usually done in one shot.

Using waxy, almost encaustic type paint medium, on un-primed sized cotton duck.

Françoise pregnant with latecomer 4th child, a boy, Guillaume.

Abstraction 1999-2003

Asterix and Obelix 1997. Oil and paint stick on canvas, 153 x 238 cms.

My M.A. at Kingston University led me into phenomenology:
Merleau-Ponty on reflexivity and Bachelard, especially “water and dreams”.

Increasingly abstracted paintings based on watercolours and photos of kids toys, in attic sky-lit bathroom bath,with hot and cold taps later followed by bottles of shampoo etc.

Washing, pouring, painting, process in Alkyd paint medium and wax painting sticks.

Had a band called Skrawl. All connected I think.

Puppet 2004-2009

Puppets 2010. Oil and wax paint stick on canvas.

Founded the MonkClub music club and made a vinyl 10-inch album My World.

Czech marionettes given to me by my mother shortly before my father died.

Mono-printing marks on Japanese paper printed without a press.

Somehow a sideways shot at coming to terms with his loss of family in the Holocaust.Took me on a journey that helped lead me back to a renewed Christian faith.

Made Puppet album. Here’s a video, Painting Puppet.

Objects / Views / Songs 2000-2016

Girl and Flowers, oil on canvas 50 x 60 cms.

Mainly working from objects: painter’s mannequin, Pupo from Sicily, decorative drapes, flowers (usually dead), basketball boots. All in somewhat arbitrary arrangements often accumulated on paint spattered studio floorboards.

Occasional views through window and stuff on tables tooFriends sometimes pose. Obsessed with south facing studio and light.

Working on new album of songs, all recorded in painting studio.

Working from direct observation. Smaller brushes. Wanting a hidden narrative or set of relationships within paintings, but not sure to what degree I can construct it. Maybe with figures and Puppet type characters.

Whatever or however you paint, paint is with love!

Imaginative Pictures 2016-present

Parachute, oil paint and oilstick on canvas 105 x 85 cms. [ change for picture with hat ]

Inhabited by light,

Their bodies Fit effortlessly

Into the landscape.

A hat burnishes her head

And in the dream of it all

He waits…

I have gradually relinquished painting from observation whilst developing painted imaginative pictures. 

Through The Artist’s Way sessions with Françoise and friends, I decided to re-approach the female figure.

Initially clothed, then more often naked, then with the male figure, often clothed. Lovers. A universal theme but not perspective, rather images from within my own experience. 

During lockdown I made observational drawing examples to help students. I continue with this practice.

Observational drawing, still a mainstay.

Paintings: The Desire to be Desired, in oil pastel, a preferred medium. Ambiguity, dark within light. Movement as a synonym for hope. The spiritual incarnated in the physical. Increasingly the erotic has become important.

2021-22, Mentored by Dan Howard Birt through the Turps correspondence course.

Music album ‘Will you marry me?’ nearly ready for release. Music and songs contemporary with this body of work. A celebration of my life with Françoise.

Three shows at One Paved Court, Richmond. Two with my son Guillaume Klein. All three curated by my daughter Michelle Klein.


Simon wrote these notes for the 2016 edition of his website.

You can see lots more paintings and drawings on the site archive, here: