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Apple Tree

Peter Coker (1926-2004)


Inscribed with title, 'The Red House, Mistley, Manningtree, Essex' and dated 'Oct 1965' on reverse

Oil on canvas

Catalogue Raisonné No

50 x 60 inches

Given to the Bishop of Coventry by his parishioners;
The Stanley Seeger Collection

Royal Academy Illustrated, 1991, page 45;
Peter Coker RA, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2002, page 121, Catalogue Raisonné no 119

Royal Academy, Summer Exhibition, 1966, no 864;
'Anthony Green RA: Among Royal Academy Artists and Friends', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, May-August 2018, no 39;
'A Century of British Art: 1945-2010', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2021, no 323;
'Home and Abroad: The Landscapes of Peter Coker RA and Keith Grant', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, April-May 2024

A single tree, sometimes a single apple tree, was an important motif for Peter Coker, in both his drawings and paintings, from the mid 1950s. The two versions of Tree and Hedge painted in 1956 (the second of which is in the collection of the Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering) provided an especially significant precedent for the present work. They introduced a new fluidity into Coker’s work, of which this oil, produced about a decade later, was one of the ultimate expressions. After a long concentration on trees en masse – in his representations of the forests of Epping, Rendlesham and Tunstall – he returned in Apple Tree to a single specimen and presented it heroically and on an epic scale. Its expressionist handling and powerful palette suggest a tension between the tree itself – surviving, growing – and the elements with which it interacts

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