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The Colchester Gallery celebrates the life of a self-taught painter

By on October 24, 2022 0

THE colorful life of a self-taught painter will be explored through a series of talks and star-studded films in a Colchester gallery.

Denis Wirth-Miller, who died in 2010, will be celebrated at Firstsite, Lewis Gardens over the next three months by leading cultural figures, such as Dame Zandra Rhodes.

Inspired by the larger survey of the painter’s work, Denis Wirth Miller: Landscapes and Beasts will delve into the career of Francis Bacon’s collaborator.

It will officially begin this Thursday when fashion icon Dame Zandra sits down for a chat with Jon Lys Turner, the co-executor of the Denis Wirth-Miller estate.


They will discuss Denis, his life partner Richard ‘Dickie’ Chopping, their literary and artistic production and their complex relationship with Francis Bacon.

Next month, on November 18, multi-bestselling author Rachel Joyce will talk about how the legendary artist’s paintings have inspired her writing.

Art critic Louisa Buck will then appear on November 25 to discuss the fascinating life and exploits of Denis with exhibition curators James Birch and Andrew Wilson.

The talk promises to include first-hand accounts of bad behavior as well as insight into the development and evolution of his paintings.

Guests will then be able to pose their questions to Louisa, James and Andrew in what is expected to be a lively Q&A session.

Until the end of the program on January 22, art lovers in Colchester will also be able to immerse themselves in the universe of Denis Wirth-Miller through a series of more visual events.


Among many other screenings, on November 27, for example, Firstsite will play Nightwatching, which looks at the artists and landscape that influenced Denis.

On January 22, meanwhile, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the cinematography of East Anglian landscapes in this coming-of-age drama.

A Firstsite spokesperson said: “Firstsite will explore the remarkable life and career of the self-taught painter, who was both a friend and collaborator of Francis Bacon.

“Firstsite invited leading arts journalists, cultural commentators and creatives to reflect on Denis Wirth Miller.

“All three talks will take place on Firstsite but will also be available to watch live online.”

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