Artist Geoffrey Key Official Website

Artist Geoffrey Key official website


British Painter & Sculptor

Geoffrey Key in studio
Geoffrey-Key-artist at easel


Geoffrey Key is widely considered to be one of the UK’s most important contemporary artists.  His strong, dynamic figures and dreamlike compositions have earned him many admirers.  As a result, his paintings can be found in galleries and collections around the world.

Key was elected to membership of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts in 1968 and went on to become a prize winner in 1971. His career as an artist now spans six decades.

Exploring the public collection of Geoffrey Key artworks

Salford Museum and Art Gallery: May 28th – April 30th 2023

The Exploring the Collection exhibition, showcases the work of three Salford artists – Geoffrey Key, L.S. Lowry and Harold Riley. They have been selected to represent the artists’ connection to the Salford collection, whilst also reflecting the strong collection of 20th century British artists held at Salford Museum & Art Gallery.

Geoffrey Key is a prolific artist and Salford Art Gallery have many works in the collection dated mainly from the 1960s and 70s. A selection of Several of Geoffrey’s works are on display and he has also chosen works by other artists in the Salford collection to display alongside his work.

Click here: to read the full exhibition details

NEW Key Decades

by author Nick Brown OBE

Published: 6th May 2022

• 172 pages – hardback

• Fully illustrated

• Limited to only 500 copies

• Hand signed by Geoffrey Key

The ‘Key Decades’ book is the first full retrospective, enabling a comprehensive appreciation of the most arresting aspects of Geoffrey Key’s artistic journey: The continuous development of his distinctive style through line, tone and colour, his interpretation of a particular subject, a single topic which he paints in series, and his constant circling back to re-invent previous themes. However, ‘caveat emptor’, the journey is far from over.

Key Decades – Life & Art of Geoffrey Key

Geoffrey Key visits his inspirational Whiteley Nab hill as part of a feature documentary written and directed by Gaius Brown & Nick Brown.

Geoffrey Key:

The great artist in his studio putting the finishing touches to another masterpiece.

In the first fourteen weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, Geoffrey Key painted thirty heads. His exploration of isolation considers the affects of being totally alone, capturing private moments of desperation.

This extraordinary series of paintings is a lasting record of what we all went through, distilled on thirty faces that represent so many more.

Art with Heart

In the first fourteen weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, Geoffrey Key painted thirty heads. His exploration of isolation considers the effects of being totally alone, capturing private moments of desperation.



Striking, Surreal Compositions

Geoffrey Key is best known for his bold use of colour, fine draughtsmanship and strong imagination.  His masterly use of form, texture, light and colour brings distinctive character to his artworks. 

Movement and rhythm, space and depth, growth and structure, harmony and contrast, noise and calm… his paintings reverberate with these qualities.

Geoffrey Key artist painting
Key Geoffrey Northern Artist

Featured artworks

Infinite Jest: Oil on canvas 2014

Horses and riders: Oil on canvas 1994

Subjects that Inspire
“My work has been like one long chain of progression. I latch on to one theme and that decides what the next series will be and then I shoot off on another tangent. Since leaving college, that has not stopped.” 
No particular individual element inspires Geoffrey Key’s choice of subject matter.  With this is mind, he instead likes finding and exploring new and different aspects of whatever he is painting.  However, there have been certain subjects he returns to regularly, and he is perhaps best known for his popular clowns and horses, both powerful images.
His interest in clowns stems, ironically, from a childhood fear of them.  It should perhaps be said that he has now explored them so often and so effectively in his work that this fear must surely have been well and truly exorcised.
Geoffrey Key’s interest in the colour, lines and movement of performance is also shown in his paintings of dancers, jesters and musicians.  It has led to a series of works featuring the Commedia dell’arte, of which he says, “I realised Commedia dell’arte epitomised everything I had done in the past.”
This is covered in the book Infinite Jest. 
Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest: Artist Geoffrey Key

“It’s fair to say that, from our experience, if a Key doesn’t stop you in your tracks

then nothing will, and you will be missing a big slice of life.”

Christopher Underwood, gallery owner
Geoffrey Key’s work opens the eyes of the observer and takes them to a place beyond the literal world around them.  Through his work, they see a back-lit cloud, a millstone grit escarpment, a jester or a horse in a new light, brought to life in his studio.   And just as he brings a new experience to anyone who looks at his paintings or sculpture, he is also always gathering experiences to inspire his work – a night out in a restaurant or a trip overseas burns raw images into his memory, to be accessed and used as needed.  

European Modernism

Geoffrey Key’s paintings are heavily influenced by the school of European Modernism.  This was an influential art movement and philosophy that grew out of the wide scale and far-reaching changes in Western society that took place during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Modernist art encompasses many styles, but all are conform to certain underlying principles: a rejection of history and conservative values (such as realistic depiction of subjects); innovation and experimentation with form (the shapes, colours and lines that make up the work) with a tendency to abstraction; and an emphasis on materials, techniques and processes.
Geoffrey’s work has given me so much pleasure over the years.  The best thing is that feeling in your stomach when you see another new painting and you know, no matter how much money you have in your account, it’s coming home.  You don’t often get that feeling, but when you do, you know. Martin Heaps: Collect Art Gallery

Xanthos sculptor: Bronze 1980

Torso: Aluminium 1985

Art by Geoffrey Key

Woman with bird: Bronze 1978