WITH GREAT SADNESS IT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED THAT GRAHAM KNUTTEL HAS PASSED AWAY. Peacefully surrounded by his family on May 27th.
Graham was a larger that life colourful character both in life and his art. His work never failed to raise a chuckle and an eyebrow. Mostly simultaneously.
May Knuttel rest in peace.
Graham Knuttel was born in Dublin in 1954. Initially renowned for his large wooden mechanical animated sculptures, Knuttel's figurative paintings are now acclaimed internationally. He paints into an urban landscape to which he himself belongs, favouring dark and dangerous scenes, which reflect the fears, doubts and hopes he feels himself. It is on canvas that Knuttel fights his battles, the tensions and moods brilliantly portrayed on the faces of his subjects, his wicked sense of humour evident throughout. Knuttel returns constantly to still life in his work, inspired by its potential for simplicity and bringing him back to his early studies of Cezanne and Picasso.
Graham Knuttel's work is held in public and private collections worldwide. Collectors include Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Bertie Ahern and Joanna Lumley as well as Swiss Bank Corporation, Allied Irish Banks, Goldman Sachs International and Saatchi & Saatchi London.
"When I was eighteen, I started at art school. I had always had an interest in figurative work, in the portrayal of the human condition, and from an early age I was familiar with the work of Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso. In art school I was attracted to the life drawing room where I determined to develop my skills as a figurative painter. I found myself to be an intuitive painter. I had little patience for the intellectual processes and conclusions involved with abstract and conceptual art. For me, to paint what I saw or felt or imagined around me should be a simple affair, painted from the gut." Graham Knuttel
"My parents came to Ireland in 1947 from Bedford in England where my father had served with the R.A.F. My grandfather was a stone quarry owner in Dresden, Germany but my father and grandmother came to England after the 1st World War. My father is a strange eccentric man, but he has nothing on his mother. I met her only once when I was four of five but the memory will never leave me. She was very tall and thin with a hook like nose not dissimilar to my own. Her cheeks were hollow, whitened with powder and highlighted with rouge. She was dressed all in black, except for a white lace frill at her neck. The sight of her beside my father's huge dark wardrobe sent me into a state of total hysteria. There being no one else in the room, she tried to lock me in the wardrobe. I can still hear her cackling and feel her long white claws at the back of my neck. I often look at my drawings of birds with which I have had a long obsession, and I wonder. I'm glad that I managed to find some sort of humour in what I firmly believe was a very close call. I think she might easily have strangled me and possibly eaten me had not my cries been heard. She was returned that same day to Margate where she lived in a guesthouse surrounded by her collection of stuffed animals, until her death in 1962." Graham Knuttel
"My mother's family were more normal. Many of my summer holidays were spent at their house in Northampton. We went to England two or three times a year and I remember the atmosphere of that journey very well. We took The Princess Maud, a steam-ship notorious for its creaking and rolling, packed as it was in those days, with emigrant faces. We made the journey at night with a three-hour wait at dawn in Crewe Station for a connection. Under the grime and soot it was a magnificent building with its ornate brickwork and cast and wrought iron. In many ways the scenes were reminiscent of the air raid drawings of Henry Moore. Today when I draw people, I draw in caricature; railway porters I have seen asleep on mail bags, weary, worried men and women, busy and intent on that awful survival." Graham Knuttel
Graham Knuttel's bold use of colour and form and the narrative tensions which wind their way through all his work, make him a true story teller. Knuttel's works are instantly recognizable, making him one of Ireland's most popular and collectable living artists of our time.