Artists

1950-1959

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Description

Taught by Ruskin Spear at Chelsea School of Art in the late 1940’s, Brooker’s dark-toned richly painted early works, mostly of nudes, interiors and urban landscapes, have often been placed in the very English tradition of Sickert and the Camden Town School. In this handsome example, from 1953, something of this allegiance, to Sickert particularly, is clearly visible in his method of making the painting - the direct transcription of a drawn motif onto the canvas, the clearly defined areas of tone and colour and, above all the sense of it being swiftly and decisively painted, with an often surprising thinness of surface. Brooker, however, saw himself as being closer to the more intimate and painterly autobiographical character of Vuillard and Bonnard’s painting than the urban commentaries of the Camden Town style. And, in the informal touch and subtle surface organisation of this still life it is clear that Brooker was also looking to a much wider European tradition, one that included De Stael and Morandi, qualities that were to become more apparent with the radical shift of style that took place in Brooker’s work at the end of the decade when he moved towards an altogether more austere treatment of the still-life subject.