Derek Middleton is regarded as an abstract painter and one of the English 'Tachiste' alongside Frank Avray Wilson. Middleton was born in Shanghai but the fact that he lived in France from 1958 to his death in 1983 has restricted his acclaim in the UK even though he exhibited here while living away.
Derek Middleton, was an important figure in the abstract impressionist movement of the 1960s, he studied art in Munich, Florence and Dusseldorf. After serving in military intelligence in World War II, Middleton settled in London, his work being hung at the Royal Academy in 1953 and 1954.
In 1957, he had his first one-man show, at the New Vision; in each of the following three years, he was given one-man shows at the Redfern.
After Middleton went to live in Paris in 1958, the change of country and cultural stimulus helped to change his vision and to expand his artistic range. Whereas his earlier works had retained some elements of representation, his later ones were almost purely abstract. And, increasingly, he became fascinated by the texture of wood, producing sculptures and reliefs notable for their bold design and fine craftsmanship.
Examples of Middleton's work are in the British Museum, the Liverpool and Manchester municipal art galleries, the Museum of Modern art Cleveland, Ohio; City Hall, Quebec; and in many private collections in Europe and the United States.