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John Bratby, Pioneer Of ‘Kitchen Sink School’

July 22, 1992

LONDON (AP) _ John Bratby, a prolific pioneer of the ″Kitchen Sink School″ of painting known for pictures incorporatng everyday items, has died at age 64.

Bratby’s family said Tuesday that he collapsed outside his home at the south coast resort of Hastings on Monday. No cause of death was given.

Bratby’s output was prodigious - up to three paintings a day during some periods. Between 1967 and 1986, he produced more than 1,000 paintings of such celebrities as the Queen Mother Elizabeth, actor Sir Alec Guinness and pop star Paul McCartney.

Bratby’s works hang in London’s Tate Gallery and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He also painted works used in the 1958 film ″The Horse’s Mouth″ and the 1985 television series ″Mistral’s Daughter″.

Bratby trained at London’s Royal College of Art. He left with three major awards in 1954 and the same year staged his first one-man exhibition in London.

The Times of London said at the time that standing in front of his work, one could imagine ″what it would have been like to be confronted with a Van Gogh for the first time.″

Bratby’s personality also made him a hit with art critics and journalists. Voicing fears that the individual is an endangered species, the bearded, pipe- smoking extrovert had a passionate dislike of what he called the ″egalitarian society.″

His work was seen as part of the ″Angry Young Men″ movement launched in the 1950s by playwright John Osborne and other young newcomers tired of the drabness of life and the arts in Britain in the years immediately after World War II.

One of Bratby’s best known pictures of the period is ″Jean and Still Life in Front of Window″ showing his first wife crouching naked behind a table heaped with beer glasses, overflowing ashtrays, cornflake packets and other household items.

His popularity was eclipsed in the 1960s by abstract art. His portraits often were condemned by critics as garish.

But after years of neglect, he resurfaced to critical favor in 1991 with a retrospective show of his drawings at the National Portrait Gallery and a group show entitled ″The Kitchen Sink.″

Bratby’s first marriage, to painter Jean Cooke, ended in divorce in 1977. They had three sons and a daughter.

His second wife was actress Patti Prime, whom he claimed to have met through a personal ad in a London magazine.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

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