David Wilde

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David Wilde (1913-1978) was born in Manchester in 1913, as Norman Shacklock. He was an exceptional pupil and was admitted to the Manchester School of Art at the age of just twelve. He worked as a draughtsman and medical illustrator but quickly became well known on the Continent as a genius of erotic art, with his work being exhibited alongside that of Picasso and Dali in Paris. In those days the nature of his erotic work meant that it could not be shown publicly in the UK. He called himself Wilde and notoriously lived the high life in London, often enjoying the company of various celebrities and members of the aristocracy, before returning home to his life in Manchester.

Wilde’s antidote to the world of erotic art was to paint brightly coloured, surreal landscapes of his native Manchester and his beloved Wales. These were not made public in his lifetime and it is these paintings which have been commanding so much attention in recent years, since some have found their way into the hands of Northern Art collectors.

He is known as ‘David Wilde, Manchester’s Hidden Artist’ (in Chris Kirwan’s book of the same name,) because due to Wilde’s determination in later life to expose various secret societies, he found himself in the extraordinary situation where he felt it was best that all his work should be taken away to a place of safety. This is how his paintings came to be hidden away, remaining unseen for over thirty years.

Wilde’s paintings are quickly becoming sought after and now we all have the opportunity to share in the unique vision of David Wilde the artist and the man.