Bratby, John (1928-92)

(1928-92)John Bratby graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1954 and rose to fame with his unadulterated view of ordinary domestic life. He was soon regarded as the leading light of what came to be known as the 'Kitchen Sink Painters', working in a harsh realist style, applying paint thickly in vibrant colours, and portraying ugly and desperate faces. It was this concern with social realism that brought Bratby into contact with Jack Smith, Edward Middleditch and Derrick Greaves, artists who shared a desire to depict the banality of working class environments. However, Bratby's use of colours distinguished his style from that of his peers. He was chosen to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1956. He also taught at Carlisle College of Art from 1957-8. In the late 1960s, he started a series of portraits of celebrities, including the actress Billie Whitelaw, which developed into a Hall of Fame during the 1970s. In the 1980s, he painted cityscapes on trips abroad, self-portraits and portaits of his second wife, using bright colours and great economy of line.

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