John Salt Ironmongers 1981 © Estate of John Salt


Born 1937
Died 2021
Nationality English
Birth place Birmingham
Death place Shrewsbury

John Salt became known as one of the foremost photorealist painters after moving to America from Britain in 1967. The automobile was the main theme of his work during the 1970s – his poetic depictions of abandoned cars and mobile homes are a vivid testament to consumerist society. To create his paintings, Salt drew an outline onto the canvas using a photograph projected from a slide. Colour is added using an airbrush, with stencils used to get a precise effect. This eliminates the hand of the artist and removes any trace of self-expression. Salt returned to live in England in 1978 and depicted predominantly American subjects. Born in Birmingham, he studied at Birmingham College of Art and at the Slade School of Art in London.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


An extremely detailed form of naturalistic art, often based on photographs. The style is particularly associated with North American art of the 1970s.