In memory — Rubens with a smile
Her art brought smiles. It depicted a joyfulness of life with its unpretentious, endearing portrayals of real people enjoying everyday things. She was known for the vibrant, fun-loving fat women that cavorted across her paintings. In an era where it’s uncommon to find positive, nonjudgmental images of rounded, unselfconscious people, her artwork captured people’s hearts.
Artist Beryl Cook died today at the age of 81. As the Guardian wrote, she achieved fame for her fun, cartoon-like portrayals of generously proportioned ordinary people and chronicled everyday life with a sympathetic eye. As Alastair Sooke wrote in the Telegraph, her paintings were vilified by art critics as being too sunny to sustain scrutiny. But their popularity with real people was in the exuberance and wit that animated her figures.
You can feel the outpouring of love and the joy her art brought people by the comments made at The Times. “A ray of sunshine in a stuffy self concentrating world, thanks for the humour and laughs and your original view of the world made millions smile,” one wrote.
According to the Sun, she said: "I’m only motivated by people enjoying themselves." The Sun has a video of several wonderful paintings. You’ll find more on her website here that will brighten your day and make you wish for many more.
Hat tip to Mariellen.