John Walker



Not on display

John Walker born 1939
Acrylic paint and chalk on paper
Support: 1003 × 708 mm
Purchased 1974

Catalogue entry

T01936 UNTITLED 1974

Inscribed ‘Walker 1974’ b.r.
Acrylic on paper with chalk overdrawing, 39 1/2×27 7/8 (100.2×70.7)
Purchased from Nigel Greenwood Inc. Ltd (Grant-in-Aid) 1974


These two drawings [T01936 and T01937] were made on the same day in New York in 1974. They are part of a series in the sense that they were made as studies from paintings which the artist had been working on at the time (the Juggernaut paintings). It was, and has continued to be, part of John Walker's practice to draw direct from his paintings as this enabled him ‘to see them more accurately’. The artist has expressed his need to draw from a painting, both during and after its making: ‘I don't want to let it go away until I know what I've got... So I tend to draw a lot after the painting, after the painting's finished’ (Studio International, CLXXXIII 1972, p.247). The artist thought that these drawings were made from a painting which was never finished (letter to the compiler, March 1977).

The lines in the drawings were made by incision in the acrylic paint and the paper below, cut with an etching needle, into which powdered chalk was rubbed. In each case loose cross-hatched lines were overlayed with deeper cut, irregular but straight-sided, geometric shapes. These shapes, similar in both drawings, relate to the painting in the Juggernaut series from which they were drawn. Collaged and overlayed canvas marked the shapes in the paintings. In both drawings the shapes were roughly contained by an incised rectangle which also marked the limit to most of the chalking, whereas in the paintings the shapes are taken to the edge of the canvas. In the same year John Walker made a series of five linocuts which also derived from the juggernaut paintings. In the linocuts the straight-sided shapes predominate, with only a few curved lines in each print, and there are none of the cross-hatched lines which appear in the drawings.

This catalogue entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978

You might like