Geoffrey Tibble was born in Reading and studied at the University School of Art. In 1927 he took up a place at the Slade School of Fine Arts where fellow students included William Coldstream, Rodrigo Moynihan and Geoffrey Tibble. In a letter dated 13th July 1947 (1) Tibble wrote:
Painted abstracts from 1934 to 1938 which were exhibited under the title ‘Objective Abstractions’. Since 1938, apart from an interruption of 2 years in the R.A.F. (1940-42), I have been painting representational works. Without rejecting the experiments and discoveries that have been made since Cezanne, I consider theories as such, Surrealism, Abstractionism, Realism, irrelevant. The only common ground or visual experience is the world of appearances. Pattern, Rhythm, Colour, Design derive solely from this common world. There is no such thing as pure aesthetics. Form and Content are indivisible. I differ both from the Realists and the Surrealists and the Abstractionists in that with the Realists the whole account is on the ‘visual world’, with the surrealists it is on ‘the Self’. My aim is ‘the Real’ which I understand as a subject-object relationship – ‘myself-in-the-world’ in which both the former points of view are contained’.
His work was included in the ‘Objective Abstractions’ exhibition at Zwemmers, London 1934, and had his first solo exhibition at Tooth’s Galleries, London in 1936. In 1942 he moved to Beaconsfield with his wife and two daughters; his neighbour there was the painter Edgar Hubert. He died on 15 December 1952 aged 43. William Townsend writing in The Times noted that ‘It is not without interest that Tibble’s technical facility as painter was matched by an astonishing facility for playing musical instruments by ear. He was a proficient pianist and many will remember hearing the piano-forte works of Satie, Poulenc and Stravinsky for the first time in his Charlotte Street studio.(2). A retrospective exhibition was shown at Manchester City Art Gallery in 1958 and in 2002 his work was shown at Jonathan Clark, London.
(1) Visual Arts Library, British Council
(2) The Times 24 December 1952