Marie Walker Last (1917-2017)
"Fragment of a Dream"
Signed, inscribed and dated Jan. (19)63, with original artist's original label verso, oil on canvas, 65cm by 100cm
Provenance: From the Estate of Marie Walker Last
During her childhood in West Yorkshire, Marie Walker Last showed an early inclination towards art encouraged by her father, a successful textiles manufacturer and keen art enthusiast. After a spell in the Land Army during WWII, Marie's early artistic inclinations leant towards capturing the landscape of West Yorkshire.
In the mid-1950s she became a member of the Northern Federation of Artists, and whilst attending their summer painting schools she met leading artists such as Robert Medley and Terry Frost. Here she was encouraged to move beyond representational depictions of landscape towards more abstract, personal expressions of her surroundings.
In 1956 Marie was accepted into the Chelsea School of Art, where she produced bold abstract work often inspired by her fascination with the Universe and space exploration. Whilst in London, Marie threw herself into the vibrant art scene, working for the Molton Gallery, Annely Juda and New Vision Gallery. Her first solo show in 1959 was at University Gallery, Newcastle, an offshoot of the New Vision Gallery focusing on contemporary abstract art. This was followed by a solo show in the New Vision Gallery in London.
In 1961 Marie married lawyer Tom Last and moved to his home town of Ilkley, where she established a studio in nearby Menston. Here she gravitated back to her early fascination with the Yorkshire landscape, which once more became a strong focus for her work. Marie exhibited both locally and nationally, with her first major retrospective held at Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax in 1991.