painter and wood-engraver
In the 1930s Suzanne Cooper was one of the rising stars of British Modernist art. Her work has been overlooked for decades, but now at last - with events scheduled for 2018 at the Fry Gallery Too in Saffron Walden, and an exhibition at the Printroom in Suffolk - this lost heroine of British Modernism is set to receive the recognition due to her.
Suzanne Cooper grew up in Frinton, a seaside resort on the Essex coast. In 1935, when she was nineteen years old, she became a student at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London, where she was taught by the master print-makers Iain Macnab and Cyril Power. Over the next four years she exhibited her oil-paintings and woodcuts in group shows at the Redfern Gallery, the Zwemmer Gallery and the Stafford Gallery, and with the National Society of Painters, Sculptors and Print-Makers (founded by Henry Moore in 1930) and the Society of Women Artists. Fourteen of her paintings remain in the possession of her family. At least a dozen more were sold, most of their current whereabouts being unknown. One was bought by the influential collector Lucy Carrington Wertheim and is now in the Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand, hanging - fittingly - between paintings by Alfred Wallis and Christopher Wood, who was an important influence on her. Another was sold at Bonhams Auction House in 2004 and bought by John Lumley, then Director of Paintings at Christies.
Suzanne Cooper's promising career was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. The Grosvenor School closed in 1939. She married Michael Franklin in 1941. They had three children, and she produced no more large-scale works, though continuing to work in pastels and chalk. She died in 1992.
1916 - 1992