One of the final gestures that the ever-generous Michael Finn made was to present to the then nascent West Cornwall Art Archive (when it was housed in the back-garden library of the Hypatia Trust at Newmill, Penzance) was to ensure that we had a copy of his exhibition programmes and publications. And when he died, through the good offices of Elizabeth KNOWLES who had worked closely with him in later years, he also presented his entire book collection to the project, one of our valued legacies.
Finn had served as Principal of two British art schools in his distinguished career, the first being Falmouth School of Art, and then the Bath School of Art at Corsham. Michael and his wife Cely moved to St Just in Penwith soon after retirement from the latter and took up his mixed media constructions and paintings full-time thereafter. John Halkes in his 1994 article in the Church Times, reveals that he began to make sculptures when his son Richard asked him to make a crucifix for his room, after which a series of sculptures based on the form followed, some of which were part copper and cast in bronze, also mixed with pieces of rough-hewn wood.
Michael was a life-long Roman Catholic and a devoted family man. He and Cely had three children, two daughters and one son, the latter becoming a priest. The family asked the Rev John HALKES, a former and highly-regarded Director of the Newlyn Orion Art Gallery, to take over and dispose of his remaining art works. These were exhibited in a major and well attended exhibition at the Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, in January 2010.
Painter, sculptor, teacher & administrator
works and access
Works incl: Black Crucifix 1989 p175, Hardie 1995; Untitled 1991 (Falmouth AG); Night Garden 1959 (Cornwall Council); Untitled 1965 (Cornwall Council); Garden 1971 (Cornwall Council); Untitled 2001 (Royal Cornwall Museum)
Solos: Festival Gallery, Bath (1978), Newlyn Orion (1989); Wolf at the Door, Penzance (1990)
1960: 'Painters in Cornwall' (Group), City Art Gallery, Plymouth
1988: NAG, Art Share exhibition (mixed)
1989: NAG, solo
Selected for 'A Century of Art in Cornwall 1889-1989, Truro
1992: RWA Artists from Cornwall (selected)
2010: Lemon Street Gallery, Truro: 'Michael Finn' Memorial Exhibition
Brittain, Sarah and Cook, Simon (2001) Behind the Canvas, 40 Artists working in West Cornwall;
Cross (2002) Catching the Wave (photo likeness & illus, pp194-5)
Exh Cat: 20 Years of Contemporary Art at Falmouth Art Gallery 1980-2000
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn/Diary of a Gallery (photo likeness & illus)
Obituary, The Independent (on-line) 2002 by Peter Davies
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly p13 illus, p154 (3), p186
RWE (1992) Artists from Cornwall, Bristol