Friday 28 December 2018

My favourite artist - Pauline Boty

Boty's last work
Who is your favourite painter? Mine is British Pop Artist Pauline Boty, who died aged 26 in 1966, shortly after giving birth to her daughter. Her death was absolutely tragic. On finding she was pregnant, she went for a check up only to be diagnosed with malignant cancer. She refused an abortion or chemotherapy to protect her unborn child and died five months after the birth of her daughter Katy. We often hear of people's battle against cancer as being "heroic" but I can think of nothing more heroic or selfless than Boty's approach. But it is her artwork which made me love her. I had seen a few of them in various places over the years without bothering to find out much about the artist. When I finally put it all together, I was astounded to find that such an amazing painter seems to have been completely forgotten by the British public. I wonder if she'd have been quite so overlooked had she been male, although her work was very feminine and feminist in its themes.

Boty by Bailey
I have something in common with Pauline, we were both photographed by David Bailey in the 1960's. I suspect that Pauline made rather more of an impression on Bailey than I did on whatever the advertising shoot was. She is one of those people who have a timeless look. To me, Baileys pic could almost have been taken yesterday. If it was the cover to a new album by an emerging band, you wouldn't be in the least surprised. Boty also had numerous acting credits, she even appeared as one of Alfies (Michael Caine) girfriends in the iconic 1960's film.

But her standout work was as an artist. If you like Pop art (and I prefer it to all other more pompous forms) and you are not aware of Pauline's work, just do a quick google of her name (using image search). What I find fascinating is just how contemporary her work looks. It could have been done yesterday. My eldest daughter is doing a fine art degree in Leeds at the moment. When I see the work being done in some of the exhibitions we attend, I see the influence of Boty in much of it. I write a lot of blogs, but the ones which give me the most pleasure are sharing my loves of great artists. Pauline was definately one and I think she deserves far more recognition than she seems to have.

Pauline Boty, by Pauline Boty - NPG 7030
Stained glass window

1 comment:

Brian Shillibeer said...

Well written Rog - deserves to be banned though...not