Eric Tucker: Watercolours
7 - 23 December 2020
Alon Zakaim Fine Art and Connaught Brown are pleased to present Eric Tucker: Watercolours - an exclusive online preview of fourteen works on paper by 'The Unseen Artist' of Warrington, whose extensive sixty years of paintings were discovered after his death throughout the artist's attic, his garden shed, and under his stairs.
Released by the artist's estate for a limited time only, these works are the first that have been available for purchase, and they mark the beginning of a collaborative representation of Tucker's work, ahead of a larger and more encompassing exhibition in the summer of 2021. This exclusive online preview introduces to London the work of a prolific and previously unknown artist, whose vast collection of works have gained a notable following as well as coverage by BBC News and The Telegraph.
Remembered by his younger brother Tony as drawing 'surreptitiously in pubs and bars, often holding the paper below table level', Tucker captures an ephemeral state of the north of England, influenced by the industrial machine depicted by L.S. Lowry and the surreal scenes painted by Edward Burra in the 30s and 40s. However, unlike the faceless machine described by Lowry, in which swathes of workers shuffle hastily in unison, Tucker's scenes and portraits depict the individuals of this industrial Britain in all their nuance, with an explicit focus on their downtime, ultimately producing an image of rich social harmony in the bars and on the streets of England from the 1960s through to the turn of the century.
While Tucker's influence was largely from his first-hand experience of these bars, cafés and clubs, he also had a firm interest in the artistic oeuvre of the time - his brother describing his bedroom as being 'stacked with books, magazines, newspapers, postcards and all manner of printed ephemera' which would have included some of the first colour publications of artwork from across the globe, informing the stylistic mobility evident in the artist's work. Tucker's scenes, drawing influence from the dramatically staged compositions of the Pre-Raphaelites to the slightly unsettling geometry and perspective of the Surrealists, are a testament to the powerful artistic movements taking place throughout the First and Second World Wars, but also retain a strong connection to the figurative - his compositions being evidence of an artist who, above all else, cared for those around him: 'a kind, humane individual who looked out for those whose lives […] were difficult.'
Having desired largely to keep his work as a secret passion for all of his life, in his last few years Tucker expressed to his family that he wanted his work to be seen, prompting an exhibition of his works at the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery after his death in 2018. As the first preview of Tucker's work in London, the collection of fourteen watercolours displayed are a window into the artist's vast body of work - the scenes of friends and families in the pub and out on the street are a vital artefact of the lives of millions of individuals in an evolving industrial hub of the north of England.
Works from Eric Tucker: Watercolours will be available to view for a limited time only at Alon Zakaim Fine Art (5-7 Dover St. London W1S 4LD) and Connaught Brown (2 Albemarle St. London W1S 4HD), 7 - 23 December 2020.
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