Albert Irvin studied at Northampton School of Art from 1940 to 1941, before serving as a navigator in the RAF during World War II. He went on to study at Goldsmiths College where he later returned to teach between 1962 and 1983. He also taught at art colleges throughout Britain.
Irvin’s first solo exhibition was held in 1960 at 57 Gallery, London. A major retrospective of his work from 1960 to 1989 was held at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1990. He continued to exhibit regularly at Gimpel Fils, London. Irvin was awarded a Travel Award to America by the Arts Council in 1968 and later received an Arts Council Major Award. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1998 and lived and worked in London.
Paul Moorhouse, Tate curator and author of the book Albert Irvin: Life to Painting, wrote of him: “even to those familiar with his work, seeing a new painting by Irvin can be an extraordinary experience akin to discovering a young, energetic artist in the first flush of ambition. Given the force of its restless energy, its freshness and the sense it communicates of an artist in love with his chosen activity, it is even more surprising to realise that this is the work of an artist in his late seventies.”