Established Artist – 1915 – 1997
Born in Methil, Fife, William Gear was the son of a coalminer. He won scholarships to Edinburgh College of Art (1932-6) and the University of Edinburgh (1936-7) where his studies included art history with David Talbot Rice, the eminent Byzantine scholar. In 1937-38 Gear traveled on a scholarship and spent five months in Paris as a pupil of Fernand Leger. In 1940 Gear was called up and posted to the Royal Corps of Signals. He served in Egypt, Palestine, Cyprus and Italy and consistently managed to paint and exhibit first in Jerusalem and lastly in Florence. In 1945 he volunteered to serve in Germany and was posted to the Monuments, Fine Art and Archives Section of Allied Control Commission with the rank of major.
After demobilization in 1947 he lived in Paris once again, and subsequently was one of only two British artists to take part in the CoBrA exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1949. A prolific artist, Gear maintained a strenuous exhibiting schedule and in 1964 was appointed Head of the Faculty of Fine Art at the Birmingham College of Art, where he remained until he retired in 1975. He also participated in the CoBrA revival of the 1980s.