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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Top Welsh artist Sir Kyffin dies
Sir Kyffin Williams

Wales' foremost artist, Sir Kyffin Williams, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Royal Academician Sir Kyffin, who was 88, died at a nursing home on Anglesey.

He found the inspiration for much of his work in oils and drawings in his native Snowdonia and also visited Patagonia and Venice.

Culture Minister Alun Pugh paid tribute to Sir Kyffin as an "outstanding artist". His death was "a great loss to the world of visual arts", he said.

Mr Pugh said: "I suppose the images that stick in my mind are those fantastic oil paintings he did of Snowdonia and Crib Goch and the Glyders and as well as being a very popular artist, of course, he was a really nice man."

He is the greatest artist that Wales has ever had.- there will never be another Kyffin Williams
Albany Gallery's Mary Yapp

The Llangefni-born artist was knighted in 1999 and was an honorary fellow of the University of Wales colleges Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth.

Sir Kyffin had been suffering from both lung and prostate cancer for some time.

He turned to art after ill health stopped him in his first choice career of becoming a soldier, going first to the Slade School of Art in London and later working for many years as a teacher in the city.

His distinctive landscapes and drawings of farmers and animals in oils soon gave him a worldwide reputation, and Sir Kyffin exhibited regularly in London and in Wales.

Sir Kyffin also travelled to Patagonia in 1968 when he was awarded the Winston Churchill Fellowship to record the Welsh community there.

Kyffin Williams painting (pic courtesy of Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw)
A part of Wales died with him but, thankfully, he will live on in his wonderful art
David Goadby, Gwynedd

More recently, he was also an outspoken critic of the contemporary art scene, saying some artists were more interested in fame and that much of modern art was "totally unlikeable".

But, paying tribute. Mr Pugh said: "I remember at a meeting he was absolutely beastly about modern art but he did it with a twinkle in his eye and I don't think anyone could take offence at that."

Sir Kyffin, who spent the last years of his life on Anglesey and was president of the Royal Cambrian Academy in Conwy, was a strong supporter of local galleries and charities, often donating his paintings to help in fundraising efforts.

Mary Yapp, from Cardiff's Albany gallery who is Sir Kyffin's agent in Wales, said she would miss her close friend terribly.

"I was actually with him on Wednesday and although he was weak he was quite cheerful and he was talking about his forthcoming exhibition.

"He was an amazing character. He was a marvellous wit and all those close to him are going to miss him for what he stood for.

"He is the greatest artist that Wales has ever had.- there will never be another Kyffin Williams," said Mrs Yapp.

"His life was sometimes solitary, but lived to the full."

Artist's 'library of sensations'
01 Sep 06 |  North West Wales
Sir Kyffin attacks art 'fame-seekers'
14 Jan 04 |  North West Wales

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