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John Bratby, Pioneer Of ‘Kitchen Sink School’

July 22, 1992

LONDON (AP) _ John Bratby, whose pictures incorporating beer bottles, trash cans and other everyday items pioneered the then-lauded but later derided ″Kitchen Sink School″ of painting, has died. He was 64.

His family said Tuesday he collapsed and died outside his home at the south coast resort of Hastings on Monday. No cause of death was stated.

Bratby’s output was prodigious - up to three paintings a day at some periods and, between 1967 and 1986, 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 an almost instant 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 austere 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 the fashion for abstract art. His portraits were often 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. He said he met her through a personal ad in a London magazine.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

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