CAPTURING THE WHIMSICAL SPIRIT of one of the world’s great musicians and one of the '60s best-dressed men, painter John Bratby's Paul McCartney portraits ooze character, one of them freezing the Beatles tunesmith in mid-whistle, or perhaps even a trademark ‘Ooooooh!’.
Two Macca portraits that Bratby painted in 1967 are reunited for the first time at Hastings’ Jerwood Gallery between January 30 and April 17, 2016, in a show of the late painter’s works entitled John Bratby: Everything But The Kitchen Sink, Including The Kitchen Sink.
But a third McCartney by Bratby – this one, presumably – appears to have hunkered down and has so far eluded curators.
Bratby, who died in his adopted home town of Hastings in 1992 whilst walking home from his local fish and chip shop the day after his 64th birthday, was one of the British art scene’s great “radical realists” of the 1950s and '60s. Celebrities who sat for him included McCartney, Michael Palin, Arthur Askey and Claire Rayner. He is thought to have painted over 3,000 works, and many of the exhibition’s most fascinating items were crowdsourced after an appeal for submissions elicited an avalanche of letters, photos and eccentric Bratby stories.
Jerwood Gallery Director Liz Gilmore says “a retrospective of John Bratby’s work is long overdue, and where better for it to take place than in the town that he made his home. John Bratby was a complex and intense personality but I hope the show captures some of his moments of genius.”
And of course, if anyone knows the location of the missing Macca, both MOJO and the Jerwood Gallery would be delighted to hear from you.
Illustrations: Paul McCartney, 1967, by John Bratby. Copyright the artists's estate and Bridgeman Images