Walker - a dangerous man
A big picture in every way!
Bratby's portraits vary enormously in quality but this is without doubt one of the strongest. Walker was a dissolute young man who was very much into drugs and alcohol and - according to Bratby - had a talent for inciting others to take up similar pursuits.
There is no shortage of ambiguity here. What, for instance, is Walker holding in his hand? Is it a book - or a meat cleaver!
Technically this is a very remarkable painting too. The impasto oil paint is sculpturally thick, with a very vigorous use of contrasting colours, especailly in the subject's face, where they clash in almost hallucinogenic fashion when viewed up close.
The painting comes with a provenance letter from the Bratby specialist and author, Jonathan Riley, relating how he discussed the painting and its subject with Bratby himself at the artist's home in Hastings.Materials: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 101.5 x 127 cm
Frame: Good quality wood frame
Provenance: REFA acquisition
Stock ref: 1058