Bridget Riley: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Bridget Riley.

  • Bridget Riley is an English painter. She is one of the best known names in op art, an art movement which uses optical illusions, wavy lines and black and white.
  • She was born in London in 1931, studied at Cheltenham Ladies College and worked in an advertising agency. She was also a teacher for a short time, and worked in a glass shop.

  • Bridget Riley became interested in op art imagery while working in advertising. She was influenced by the artist Jackson Pollock, as well as Futurist paintings she saw while touring Italy.
  • Her first solo exhibition was held in 1962 at Studio One in London. Since then her paintings have increased in value.
  • In 2008 one of her dot paintings sold for over 2 and a half million pounds.
  • The geometric patterns in Riley’s paintings often suggest movement. Some people have reported feeling seasick or experiencing a falling sensation after looking at them for too long.
  • Although best known for black and white paintings, Riley also uses colour. She has always been interested in the effects of colour and contrast in her work.
  • Some of her most well-known works include Movement in Squares, Diagonal Curve and Cataract 3. Her work Red Movement contains several colours, but has no red in it.
  • She travelled to Egypt during the 1980s and was influenced by hieroglyphic writing. Her paintings in the Ra and Ka series reflect the colour and beauty of the Egyptian landscape.
  • She has painted several temporary murals for art museums, including the National Gallery and Tate Gallery. In 2014 she created a permanent 56 metre long mural for St. Mary’s Hospital in London.
  • Bridget Riley has won many awards. She has been given honorary doctorates by both Oxford and Cambridge and in 1998 was named one of fewer than 70 Companions of Honour.

What next? Learn more about other famous artists.