Born in Leeds, Joash Woodrow was one of eight sons and two daughters. His father and mother were of Polish background, marrying in Boston, USA. On moving to Leeds his father worked as a Hebrew scholar and bookseller before finally moving into the textile trade. Joash initially trained at Leeds at College of Art after which he served in the army as a cartographer - Egypt 1945 - 1948. Between 1950 - 1953 he studied drawing and painting at the Royal College of Art, his fellow students including Frank Auerbach, Peter Blake and the novelist Len Deighton.
Shortly after graduating from the RCA Joash returned to his home in Chapel Allerton, Leeds where he lived an increasingly solitary life. In 2000, 772 paintings and 4500 drawings were found at his home; Joash having been moved to sheltered accommodation following a period of prolonged poor health. The first ever exhibition of Joash Woodrow's paintings was held in 2002; representing the first glimpse of the artists output between 1940 and the 1990's. Since then solo exhibitions have been held at Leeds City Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, the Ben Uri Art Gallery, London, Leeds Metropolitan University Art Gallery and several other University art galleries. His work is held in the collections of Leeds City Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, The Ben Uri, Liverpool University, Hull University, Liverpool Metropolitan University. A highly successful exhibition was held at the Fine Art Society, London, in 2009.
Following his death in 2006 extensive obituaries appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph and in the regional press.
Three books on Joash's work have been published with contributions and essays from the authors Philip Vann, Nicholas Usherwood and Jackie Wullschlager. (Publications)
A play produced by Liz Postlethwaite, based on the life and work of Joash Woodrow was previewed at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester in October 2011, and subsequently performed at several other venues in the North of England including the Lowry Centre, Salford and at Abbott Hall, Carlisle.
In recent years Joash had become aware of the critical acclaim his work was beginning to receive and in the summer of 2005 he visited Manchester Art Gallery with his brother Saul, to view the first major retrospective exhibition of his paintings.