Whist talking to people at my exhibition in Astley Hall, they mentioned that they were going to see Eric Tucker's paintings in an open day in his house. After his death in 2018, his family discovered more that 400 paintings and 1000's of drawings stacked all over his house. Although close family members knew he painted, they had not realised the extent of his work.
There was a lot of publicity at the time and the work captured the imagination of the public and he became known as 'The Unseen Artist' or 'Warrington's Secret Lowry.' Like many painters who capture the Northern scene, this link to Lowry, seems a little unfair. Although his street scenes had similar themes, they are more detailed with less 'match stick men' caricatures. Much of his work captures close ups of people, often from the clubs and pubs where, he would sit and sketch. One of his early paintings captures a dark industrial scene and you can see links to the work of other artists, but as he matured he found a style completely of his own which, I amongst others, can really appreciate.
Below is this early painting and some of his sketches, where you can see examples of his developing style.
Although some of the characters in his paintings appear caricaturised, you can really feel his affinity with the subject matter,. Without showing a lot of detail on his faces, he really captures the people; giving us a glimpse of their stories.
Considering he was a self taught artist and didn't take an art class until he was 80, his work shows a great maturity and confidence . He is extremely proficient in both oils and watercolours, which are displayed in the work on show. It was also interesting to see his work space and seeing it made me wish Manchester Art Gallery had kept the one they had of Lowry's.
Although, now known as the Unseen Artist, he did try to show his work, selling two paintings from the Tib Street Gallery, before becoming disillusioned with the galleries commission and the fact that they didn't want to take any more off him.
I found it odd to see a label for the Royal Academy Open, in one of the display cases. I am curious and would be interested to know if he was accepted or just entered the exhibition.
I enjoyed his figurative work and street scenes but found his countryside landscapes not as impressive and although excellent, his clown paintings did nothing for me.
A fascinating afternoon viewing the work and I can appreciate why there has been so much interest in his work. It was just a shame that he got no recognition when he was alive.