He studied at St Martin's School of art where he was influenced by Pitchforth and Stroudley and in 1950 he attended the Royal College of Art. In 1949 and 1950 he travelled to Italy and Paris where he looked closely at the work of Courbet. He exhibited at Zwemmer's Gallery in 1956 and subsequently exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Grosvenor and Thackeray Galleries and Gallery 10. Writing about his work from the 50s, Frederick Gore noted, 'All the realists of that time - Jack Smith, Bratby and Middleditch - used very solid paint distributed all over the support to produce a very rich and varied paint surface. Coker's "load" of paint was the most remarkable, a wall of paint in chunks and marbled thickets, a gigantic exaggeration of a Monet or a Courbet.' He was elected an RA in 1972. His work has been represented in many group exhibitions and public collections including the Tate Gallery. In 1976 he won an Arts Council Award. His early realism was influenced by Lorjou and de Stael and his subjects of butchers and dead animals were painted in thick impasto with strong lines. Later landscapes retained his commitment to realism and expressionistic impasto technique whilst also reflecting the role of drawing and sense of place in his work. Later work showed greater economy of means, delicacy of touch and atmospheric effects. A major retrospective exhibition was organised by Chelmsford and Essex Museum in 1978.
Peter Coker - Man Carrying Pig
28 x 18 inches
Provenance: Julian Hartnoll, London
This work is a study for the painting in the Tate Gallery, London