The 12 paintings, included in Clark Art Gallery’s Late Summer Show (until September 30), are by Arthur Berry (1925-95) but were previously kept for years in a private collection.
Berry was born in the Staffordshire industrial area known as the ‘Potteries’. Though he would have been destined for a career in the nearby mines, a congenital problem with his arm allowed him to focus on painting. He trained at the Burslem School of Art and the Royal College of Art before becoming head of painting at the Polytechnic of North Staffordshire.
His “scratchy” style is typified by the collection at Clark Art and is described by the gallery as at once “classic” and “quirky”. Most of his paintings concern the north Staffordshire culture and he worked to record the vanishing industrial landscape of the Potteries. He was an admirer of LS Lowry and the connection between the two artists was addressed in a 2015 exhibition at the Potteries Museum in Stoke, Lowry and Berry – Observers of Modern Life.
The show at Clark Art also features paintings by Gary Bunt, Adolphe Valette and Mary Fedden as well as contemporary art from artists the gallery represents.
It follows the gallery’s exhibition from earlier in the summer, Northern Lights, during which 120 paintings by northern British artists were sold.