Bevan was born in Hove, Sussex in 1865 and grew up in Horsgate, near Cuckfield. He studied at Westminster School of Art, London and at the Académie Julian in Paris. His training during the 1890s also included two periods in Pont-Aven in Brittany – where he met Paul Gauguin – as well as time spent in Madrid and Tangier.
In 1897, Bevan met and married the Polish artist Stanislawa de Karlowska (1876-1952). Three years later they moved to 14 Adamson Road, London, which remained their base for the rest of Bevan’s life. The couple became key figures in London’s art world before and after World War One and held popular ‘at homes’ on Sunday afternoons during the 1910s.
As Alice Strang has explained: ‘Harold Gilman and Spencer Gore…saw Bevan’s work for the first time at the Allied Artists Association exhibition of 1908. As a result, they invited him to join Walter Sickert’s Fitzroy Street Group and Bevan was ushered into the heart of a loose association of pioneering artists.’  As a founder member of the Camden Town Group (1911-13), London Group (from 1913) and the Cumberland Market Group (1914-19), Bevan deepened his association with these artists and others, such as Walter Bayes, Malcolm Drummond, Charles Ginner and William Ratcliffe, putting him at the forefront of English art of the period.
Bevan’s technique was developed to create smoother fields of bold, unrealistic colour, which suggests an awareness of Post-Impressionism and even of Fauvism. Works painted in such a manner proved controversial when they were included in his first solo exhibition, held at the Baillie Gallery in London in 1905. Critics used words such as ‘garish’ and ‘violent’ to describe them and Bevan was to thereafter change aesthetic direction.
Following Bevan’s death in 1925, memorial exhibitions were held at the Goupil Gallery in London and at Brighton Art Gallery. Bevan’s works are held in many major public collections, with particularly significant holdings in the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Yale Center for British Art and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. As the artist’s son wrote: ‘I doubt whether Bevan earned as much as £4,000 in the whole of his working life. But he was, at all times a whole-hearted professional artist of great determination, painting, as Frederic Gore…[wrote]…in 1965, ‘with the quiet assurance of a man who is certain of immortality’.
 Alice Strang, ‘Bobby and Natalie Bevan and the Art at Boxted House’, From Sickert to Gertler: Modern British Art from Boxted House, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh2008, p.13.
 See Frances Stenlake, Robert Bevan: From Gauguin to Camden Town, Unicorn Press, London 2018, p.68.
 Robert Alexander Bevan, Robert Bevan 1865-1925: A Memoir by his Son, Studio Vista, London 1965, p.19.
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