Thursday, May 29, 2008

Artist Beryl Cook dies aged 81

Dog and Dolphin by Beryl Cook

Η ζωγράφος των θαμώνων των λονδρέζικων παμπ Μπέριλ Κουκ πέθανε σε ηλικία 81 ετών. Ηταν γνωστή για τα πολύχρωμα και κωμικά έργα της με ευτραφείς γυναίκες, αλλά και για εκείνα που ήταν εμπνευσμένα από τις παμπ της πόλης. Οι μεγαλόσωμοι αστοί της είχαν αγαπηθεί από το κοινό και πρωταγωνίστησαν σε μια σειρά του BBC. Πέρυσι, διοργανώθηκε μια μεγάλη έκθεση για την αυτοδίδακτη ζωγράφο στο Πόρταλ Γκάλερι της βρετανικής πρωτεύουσας.

From , May 28, 2008

Self portrait of the artist Beryl Cook

Beryl Cook painting herself

Beryl Cook, the populist and bawdy painter of a thousand iconic fat women, died at the age of 81 today. Jess Wilder, co-owner of London’s Portal Gallery, which shows Cook’s paintings, said: “She died peacefully this morning with her family around her.” Cook was known for the vibrant, fun-loving and over-sized characters that cavorted across her paintings but she was notoriously shy away from the canvas. She refused to attend her exhibitions and would not even appear at Buckingham Palace in 1995 to accept an OBE.

During a rare interview to celebrate her 80th birthday, Cook told The Times that when she died she would like her ashes scattered in Littlewoods, the defiantly everyday High Street clothing chain.

Dirty Dancing by Beryl Cook

Her paintings were always popular with the public, but never welcomed by the cultural elite who dismissed her work as seaside postcard slapstick. None of her works were ever added to the Tate gallery collections.

"I don't mind in the least," she said in 2006. "All I ever wanted was for people like me to enjoy my pictures. So I don't worry about the Tate one iota."

A Full House by Beryl Cook

Cook was born, in 1926, in Egham in Surrey, one of four sisters. She never knew the name of her father and was brought up by her mother and grandfather.

She left school at the age of 15 to take a shorthand typing course and then worked in a series of secretarial jobs. She married John Cook, who was in the Merchant Navy, in 1946. The couple briefly ran a pub before retiring to Cornwall in the 1960s.

Bryant Park by Beryl Cook

It was not until her middle age that Cook began to paint as a hobby. She painted on any surface she could find, scraps of wood, fire screens and most notably a breadboard, as can be seen from her famous early painting of Bowling Ladies.

Despite a complete lack of training her paintings became popular locally and she had her first exhibition in 1975. A year later she was exhibited in London and her work reached a wider audience.

Sailors by Beryl Cook

In 2004, her characters were adapted into a television series broadcast on the BBC. The Bosom Pals programmes were voiced by Alison Steadman, Rosemary Leach and Timothy Spall.

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