After studying at Kings College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1951-1955 under the prominent Richard Hamilton, Henri took teaching posts at the Manchester and Liverpool Colleges of Art 1961-1968. Also in the same year he began painting “The Entry of Christ into Liverpool” - his most important painting, which was completed in early 1964. Among poets, painters, musicians and others in Henri’s Pantheon, stand the Beatles - all the figures were done neither from life nor photographs, but were instead mental images Henri had of people. It is an interesting social document, apart from its merits as a painting, and it is significant that by 1963 the Beatles had earned their place in the assembly.
Known as painter, poet, performer and occasional playwright and songwriter, he led the poetry/rock group “Liverpool scene”, 1967-1970. He was included in nine John Moores Liverpool exhibitions, winning second prize in 1972. In 1997, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough (whom Henri met in 1961) performed a poetry reading at the Queen Elizabeth Hall to celebrate the Penguin’s 30th Anniversary.
Adrian Henri adapted his art to changing times, which in addition to painting encompasses poetry, performance art, writing and art criticism - always retained an open-ended response to culture in its broadest guises. He wilfully challenged the position of the London art scene as an arbiter of British taste by remaining a steadfastly Liverpool-based artist.
Public collections include
Arts Council of Great Britain, London
British Museum, London
National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool
The Peter Moores Foundation, Liverpool
Paul Sacher Foundation, Basel
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Jonathan CAPE. Autobiography. 1971.
F. MILNER. Adrian Henri, Paintings 1953-1998. National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool, 2000.
1977, Birkenhead Arts Association Purchase Prize
1972, John Moors Liverpool Exhibition
1964, Arts Council of Northern Ireland
2000, Retrospective Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
1997, Pop & Protest - Adrian Henri: Collage and Paintings from the Sixties, Whitford Fine Art, London.
1994, The Storey Institute, Lancaster; Merkmal Gallery, Liverpool.
1993, Works on paper 1955 - 93, Southport Arts Centre.
1992, Wish you were here, Acorn Gallery, Liverpool.
1990, Wish you were here, The Poetry Society, London.
1989, Skelmersdale Library Arts Centre.
1987, Hanover Gallery, Liverpool.
1986-87, The Art of Adrian Henri 1955 - 85, South Hill Park, Bracknell, touring exhibition.
1985, Ellesmere Art Centre, Salop; Davey Gallery, Liverpool.
1982, Murdoch Lothian Gallery, Liverpool.
1979, Milton Keynes Festival.
1978, Debris, Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh.
1977, Ibis Gallery, Leamington Spa.
1976, Retospective 1960 - 1976, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton.
1975, Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead; Art Net, London.
1974, Birthday Gardens, Academy Gallery, Liverpool.
1968, Midland Group, Nottingham; Midland Institute, Birmingham; I.C.A., London.