Prices range from $850 to $7,000
Noted art historian Edward Lucie-Smith has described Beryl Cook as a worthy successor to William Hogarth and “the nicest thing to happen to British painting in years.” With wit and imagination, Cook transforms her painting and original lithographs into wry commentaries on the human condition. Her subjects have a universal life-affirming appeal that transcends the comic situations of her imaginary people. According to the artist, the theme of her work is; “enjoy yourself , it’s later than you think! Live for today, for tomorrow, who knows?”
Cook was born in Surrey, England in 1926. At age 17, she and her family moved to London, where she performed in a touring production of “The Gypsy Princess.” In 1947, she married her childhood sweetheart John Cook, and several years later, they moved to Southern Rhodesia. Here, Cook taught herself to paint, and created many paintings of native women and local market scenes.
After several years in Africa, the family returned to England. In the late 1960′s they settled in Plymouth Hoe where Beryl Cook ran a holiday boarding house during the summer months. Her guests frequently became the unknown subjects of her paintings, providing a panorama of “human types.”
The paintings were solely exhibited on the walls of her home, until 1975, when she allowed a friend who was an antique dealer to sell a few paintings in his shop. The Plymouth Art Centre hosted her first one-person show, which was the impetus for her future success. Her works have been exhibited at Whitechapel Gallery and Portal Gallery, London, and Alexander Gallery, Bristol.
In the Alpine Fine Art Collection, 1982, Eric Lister wrote, “Cook’s meticulous observation of amusing, often amorous situations keeps appearing in her new work, her colours and forms are becoming bolder. The paintings…are blossoming into unique social commentaries while remaining always full of fun.”
Cook’s art has been published in numerous best-selling books, including The Works, Private View and One-Man Show, which detailed her sold-out exhibition at Portal Gallery in 1981. In 1980, the artist created imaginative illustrations for the children’s book Seven Years and a Day by Colette O’Hare. In 1985, Alfred A. Knopf published Beryl Cook’s New York, chronicling the artist’s impression of New York City. In 1986 the artist based several lithographs on the paintings created for this book. Currently, Cook still lives in Plymouth Hoe and continues her weekly visit to her locate pub. By critics and fans alike, she is herald as one of England’s most famous artists. We are deeply saddened by her passing, September 10, 1926 – May 28, 2008.
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