The Great Bratby: A Portrait of John Bratby RA
Artist(s): John Bratby
Author(s): Maurice Yacowar
Year published: 2008
Publisher: Middlesex University Press
Publisher Location: Faringdon
Total Pages: 282
Illustrations: Illustrated Throughout in Colour
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Addictions, insecurity and belligerence drive a famous, eccentric artist, but destroy his relationships and kill him too soon. John Bratby was the Damien Hirst of his day. By shameless publicity he made himself Britain’s first modern celebrity artist. As the leading Kitchen Sink Realist he was part of Britain’s post-war cultural revolution, kin to the ‘angry young men’ and the new cinema. He led the resistance to the American invasion by Abstraction. He famously provided the paintings for the Alec Guinness film, The Horse’s Mouth, and was a model for Guinness’s embodiment of the outrageous Gulley Jimson.
Bratby’s rediscovery in the first Saatchi show at the County Hall, London, has led to renewed critical interest and soaring prices for his art. This the first study to mine the Bratby Archive, which includes his embarrassingly intimate diaries. In addition to close readings of his art, The Great Bratby examines his art writings and his fiction, from his best-seller Breakdown to his unpublished novels and pornographic short stories.