Elected a full Royal Academician in 1972, Peter Coker achieved equal success as a painter, draughtsman and etcher, in both landscape and figuration. A little over a decade after his death, this show will provide a significant opportunity to review all aspects of this work, by drawing on the contents of the artist’s studio.
· Studies for the Butcher’s Shop Paintings that made his name in the mid 1950s and led to his association with the Kitchen Sink School of painters
· Major Landscape Oils from those of France in the 1960s, through views of Scotland and Belgium, to those of the garden of his Essex home in the early 2000s
· Drawings and Watercolours, demonstrating his mastery of a range of materials and techniques
· Sketchbook Drawings, surveying his career and revealing his working practices
· Textile Designs from the mid 1950s
· Etchings and other artist’s prints, from student works to the late flourishing of the Parisian Suite of etchings and aquatints
In October 2002, Chris Beetles mounted a major retrospective of the work of Peter Coker and, at the same time, launched the artist’s authorised biography. The beautifully produced hardback book, with over 250 illustrations, contains contributions from Richard Humphreys (then of the Tate Gallery), John Russell Taylor (then of The Times), and David Wootton (of the Chris Beetles Gallery). The book includes a comprehensive biography and chronology, essays, appraisals of his work, a catalogue raisonné and lists of his exhibitions and sketchbooks.
While the monograph and retrospective were being planned, it seemed that Peter Coker’s career might have been drawing to a close. However, the joint project revived his energies significantly. This was manifested by a range of new work shown at Chris Beetles Gallery during Spring 2004, a final flourish before the artist’s death later that year.