View Through a Window



(British, 1928-1992)
View Through a Window
Oil on canvas
Floated in a white box frame

Frame Height
Frame Length
Frame Depth

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Height 45.5 cm / 18"
Width 40 cm / 15 "

Oil on canvas




English painter, writer and teacher. He studied at the Kingston College of Art (1948-50) and later at the Royal College of Art (1951-4), where he was awarded a bursary to travel in Italy. However, he was not stimulated by the art he saw there and subsequently preferred not to travel; his taste for domestic life in England is reflected in his painting (e.g. Window, Self-portrait, Jean and Hands, 1957; London, Tate). He worked in a harsh realist style, applying his paint thickly in vibrant colours, and portraying sometimes ugly and desperate faces. He primarily chose his family as subjects and incorporated all the clutter of urban domestic life in his paintings (for example Still-Life with Chipfryer, 1954; London, Tate). It was this concern with social realism that brought Bratby into contact with Jack Smith (b.1928) , Edward Middleditch (b.1923) and Derrick Greaves (b .1927), and these artists became the main exponents of what critics dubbed 'the Kitchen Sink School'. However, while the Kitchen Sink artists (also sometimes known as the Beaux Arts Quartet) shared a desire to depict the banality of a working-class domestic environment, Bratby's use of colours and his more middle-class surroundings distinguished his style from that of his peers. Bratby taught for two brief periods, first at Carlisle College of Art (1956) and then at the Royal College of Art in London (1957-8). In the late 1960s he started a series of portraits of celebrities, including the actress Billie Whitelaw (1967; priv. col., see N.P.G. exh. cat., p. 33); the series developed into a Hall of Fame during the 1970's and 1980's. In 1973 he divorced Jean, his first wife, and met Patti Prime, via an advert placed in 'Time Out', who was to become his second wife and constant companion until his death. He painted many cityscapes on trips abroad (mostly Venice, which Patti introduced him too) in the 1980's, but concentrated on self-portraits and portraits of his second wife in intimate poses with bright colours and an economy of line. Bratby was also a successful novelist. Public exhibitions 2006 Making History - Art and Documentary in Britain from 1929 to Now Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (England) 2005 Intimate Portraits Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland 2004 Golden - Celebrating 50 Years of the Friends of the Gallery Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Twentieth Century British Art - In association with Scolar Fine Art OSBORNE SAMUEL, London (England) 2003 County Hall - Exhibition Rooms The Saatchi Gallery, London (England) Representing galleries - United Kingdom Manya Igel Fine Arts, London (England) Paisnel Gallery, London (England) Public collections Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds (England) Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (England) NPG - National Portrait Gallery, London (England) Tate Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, New York, V&A, Smart Museum of Art, Chicago.