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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
Cook's fans in a stew over 'snub'
Two Girls at a Dance
Prices for original works by Cook start at 20,000
A row has erupted in the art world over Devon artist Beryl Cook whose supporters claim the Tate is snubbing her trademark fat ladies paintings.

Cook has lived in Plymouth for more than 30 years and prices for originals by the artist start at 20,000.

The Tate says it aims to collect as widely as possible, but not all artists can be represented in the collection.

But Cook's friends say the Tate should mark her recent 80th birthday by buying one of her pictures.

I've sold a Beryl Cook to most countries in the world
Rob Hodges , Barbican Gallery Too

On its website Tate Britain says its mission is to "strengthen its position and extend its influence as the world centre for British art from the Renaissance to the present day."

Now Cook's fans say her work should be there too and if the gallery is prepared to pay 22,000 for a can of excrement, as it did with a work by Piero Manzoni six years ago, then it should be prepared to pay a similar amount for a work by Cook.

One of Cook's ladies takes it easy in Bryant Park
Cook found fame as an artist in her late 40s

"I've sold a Beryl Cook to most countries in the world," said Rob Hodges from Barbican Gallery Too.

"It's not just Plymouth, it's not just England, it's all over the world.

"People like her pictures and understand her pictures and see the funny side of them, I think that's better than a can of pooh up at the Tate."

Cook, who found fame as an artist in her late 40s has become well-known for her flamboyant depictions of large, often scantily-dressed, women with a lust for life.

In January 2004 her boisterous characters starred in a two-part animated television series made for the BBC called Bosom Pals.

Cook's 80th birthday exhibition opens at London's Portal Gallery on Monday.


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