John Napper (1916-2001) 'Pauline Cooking' Oils on Canvas. 66 x 51 cm. £8500.
A beautiful calm study of his second wife. This was painted when they lived at Chantry Mill, a former water mill at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex. There is something essentially English and elegant about the man and his art, and the scenes and people he paints are fixed for ever in the moment and are timeless. The frame is contemporaneous and bears another label for another painting by the artist. A friend of Sir Gerald Kelly who taught him along with Sir Thomas Monnigton, President of the Royal Academy. He was a war artist in Ceylon. He painted a portrait of the Queen, now in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He had a whole sale devoted to his works at Sothebys after his death. He lived in Paris where he painted abstracts, still with those elegant deep colours. He became friendly with Georges Braque, and began a fascination with folk music and musicians which would last for the rest of his life. After spending time in the remote Auvergne, he associated with the separatist, environmentalist, Breton folk music movement, and met musicians like Youenn Gwernnig, the spiritual brother to Jack Kerouac, also of Breton origin. He was a visiting professor of art at the University of Southern Illinois (1968-69). His last piece, instigated by the Prince of Wales, was a design for a large stained glass window for the chapel at St James's palace. He was married to Pauline who remained his muse and companion all his life. He spent the last part of his life living near Ludlow where he apparently found peace and time for painting, loving, friendship, food and music.
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