Painter and gallery owner, born in Kimberley, South Africa, but took United Kingdom citizenship in 1962. He was married for a time to the artist Judy Stapleton. Bowen received early education in north of England, and attended Huddersfield Art School on a County Award. He was accepted at Royal College of Art in 1940, but Royal Navy service, which involved extensive travel, put back his studies there to 1946–50, his teachers including Rodrigo Moynihan, John Minton and Carel Weight. Bowen soon began to make a name as a leading experimental painter; he taught at various provincial art colleges as well as Royal College and Central School of Arts and Crafts; in 1952 along with other members of the ICA he founded the Free Painters’ Group; and from 1956–66 he founded and directed the New Vision Centre, with Frank Avray Wilson and Halima Nalecz, which became a focal point for the work of advanced artists from Europe and elsewhere.