artist-picture

“Jesse Allen is an artist of astonishing intensity and power. Across his precise visual language he had found ways to express the beauty and cruelty, the passion and the harmony, of the life process itself. The actors are animals, but don’t be deceived: the protagonist is Man.”

Norman Bryson, Professor of History and Theory of Art, The Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK


My name is Jesse Patrick AllenMarch 11th, 1936

I was born in Nairobi Kenya (my family was living in Machakos at the time). During my childhood and adolescence I lived variously in Kenya, England, Ethiopia and Uganda – often in remote areas. I graduated in 1954 from the Prince of Wales School near Nairobi (now Nairobi High School)

1954-1955

Was spent in the Kenya regiment as a rather inept signalman.

1955-1958

St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. Where I read French & Italian, and heard Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan for the first time and began drinking red wine.

1958-1960

Milan teaching English. It was in Milan that I really began painting in my present direction and learned to eat, cook and make love.

1960-1962

I taught English as a foreign language in Britain. In 1962 I arrived in the U.S. and taught French in a private school for one year.

Next, I taught French and Italian as an instructor at Stanford University. In 1964 instead of embarking on my doctorate and an academic career, at the last minute I decided that if I did not attempt to express the vision within me, I would always regret it. I took the plunge, and became a painter. While I have had some difficult times, I have always felt it was the right choice.

Please enjoy them!