William Gear

Overview | Results & Highlights | Valuation | News

We hold four dedicated Modern Art & Design auctions each year featuring the work of William Gear. We offer a free appraisal service as well as a free collection service for items consigned to these auctions.

William Gear Overview


Born in 1915 in Fife, Scotland, William Gear painted abstracts in watercolour, oil and gouache with a strong structure and bold use of colour. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1932 to 1936, and won a travelling scholarship that took him to Paris, Italy, Greece and the Balkans. During the Second World War, he served in the Middle East and Italy as an officer in the Royal Corps of Signals, and then after the war spent two years in Germany with the Monuments and Fine Art Section. From 1947 to 1950 he lived in Paris, where he was part of the Parisian post-war art scene and joined COBRA, an international group of artists founded in Paris and named for the capital cities of the countries of origin of the founding members, Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. The group aimed to create a new artistic society and new type of post-war art, focussing on spontaneity and inspired by 'primitive' art forms.



William Gear moved back to England and embarked on a highly successful career, winning awards and with his work widely exhibited. In 1964 he became head of the fine arts department at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts and a Senior Royal Academian in 1995. He died in 1997.


William Gear developed his distinctive style early in his career, and his work is instantly recognisable for its sense of movement, almost architectural structure and use of heavy black lines to divide blocks of primary colour. Successful during his lifetime, his work is now considered essential study for students of 20th century British art and it remains popular with collectors. At Wilson55, our in-house expert Stephen Sparrow has years of experience in assessing and valuing William Gear's work, so do get in touch if you’d like to learn more about a piece you own or discuss a potential sale or valuation.


Modern Art Directory

William Gear, 'red idol'

Lot Alerts

Never miss out - sign up for our Lot Alerts and find the lots you're looking for.

Set up free alerts


Join our Modern Art newsletter to stay up to date with auction news and articles.

Free Auction Valuation

We offer a free valuation service to anyone considering the sale of items through our auctions. Complete the form below and one of our specialists will get back to you promptly.

Fields marked * are required.

Images *

Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.