Artist: John Randall Bratby, (1928-1992)
Title and date: Cactus in a Pot, c.1956
Size of picture: 40 x 34 cm
Description: a framed oil on canvas in Bratby’s highly distinctive style in very good condition with no sign of repairs/restoration. Unsigned but bearing a label ‘Bratby’ to the rear with the stretcher to the frame marked ‘Beaux Art’, the gallery where Bratby exhibited regularly from 1954. The original owner visited the artist’s studio and was given this painting by the artist.
More images can be provided on request.
A painter born in Wimbledon, he studied at Kingston Art School from 1949 to 1950 and the RCA from 1951 to 1954. He held his first solo exhibition in 1954 at the Beaux Arts Gallery, London and 2 years later his work was included in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and while living in south London Bratby showed with the Blackheath Art Society. In 1957 he won first prize in the Junior Section of the prestigious John Moores Liverpool Exhibition.
Known as a ‘Kitchen Sink’ artist in the 1950s, he turned temporarily to novel writing when the ascendancy of abstract art put his forceful realism out of fashion. He also designed sets for the film ‘The Horse’s Mouth’. In 1964 Bratby held a solo exhibition at the Zwemmer Gallery and another followed in 1966. In 1971 he held a retrospective show at South London Art Gallery and in 1985 he held a solo exhibition at the Phoenix Gallery, Lavenham. He was elected an Associate of the RA 1959, and RA in 1971.
He painted cityscapes on trips abroad in the 1980s but concentrated on self-portraits and portraits of his second wife in intimate poses and with bright colours and an economy of line. His work was reproduced in books by publishing houses that included the Folio Society and Hutchinson.
Examples of his work are represented in the Bolton Art Gallery, Falmouth Art Gallery, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, the Jerwood Foundation, Leicestershire County Council, Museum of Modern Art, NPG, New York, Tate Gallery and the V&A.