Pass, Donald

Education: Stoke-on-Trent Regional College of Art (1947–1950) and the Royal Academy Schools in London (1951–1954).
Profession/occupation: landscape painter.
Relevant info: at a young age, Donald Pass saw an angel with a lion’s head at a roadside hedge. Later, while working in London as a painter, he saw through the window “a beautiful face which appeared to be all gold. It seemed to expand through the window and embrace the whole room.”
References: Thorne, Dr. Tony (July-August 2009). Flights of Angels. Raw Vision Magazine (: number 38).

In the 1950s and 60s, Donald Pass, who has died of cancer aged 80, was a highly regarded painter of abstracts. His prestigious career in London was suddenly interrupted when, in 1969, he underwent a profound mystical experience in an English churchyard. His art and his everyday life changed from that moment. “A veil had been lifted,” he announced, “and I would never again see anything in the same way.”

The professional productions ceased and his whole focus now was on communicating the churchyard experience, a vision of ascending souls, winged sentinels and transcendent landscapes, to the widest audience. In 1984 he began a series of monumental charcoal drawings depicting the resurrection. On seeing them, Sir John Rothenstein, former director of the Tate gallery, proclaimed Pass “a genius and a very rare talent”.

Working in his studio near Oxford, Donald continued for the rest of his life to convey his vision in the form of scores of drawings and paintings, in his final years attracting the attention of museum collections in the US, Britain and Europe. Film-makers, too, had started to document his very personal, very English awakening.

Pete Townshend on Donald Pass:
“Donald Pass had a vision and accepted the consequences. He didn’t pretend to be normal, nor did he pretend that what he had seen had never happened. His wife completely accepted the event too, and this I believe is what helped Donald to remain sane. The two of them seem to accept this almost apocalyptic transformation from a normal painter to one of an artist of mystical function.”

Outsider Art Sourcebook, 2016, p.169.

Donald Pass
1930 England - 2010 England