"William Boyd's description of Tate's working procedure is so vivid that it convinces me that the small oil I picked up on Prince Street, New York, in the late '60s must indeed be one of the lost Third Panel Triptychs. The great sadness of this quiet and moving monograph is that the artist's most profound dread-that God will make you an artist but only a mediocre artist-did not in retrospect apply to Nat Tate."-David Bowie
"Always interested in painting and drawing, Tate studied painting with Hans Hofmann in Princetown, Massachusetts from 1947 until 1950, and began showing his work in exhibitions of abstract art in New York City in 1952. His adoptive family supported Tate, paying for his lessons and also buying much of his artwork. Tate became a respected, albeit minor, figure in the New York art scene, appreciated by his peers, if somewhat obscure to the general public. A recurring motif in his works was the representation of bridges, which was partly inspired by his readings of the works of Hart Crane.
An alcoholic, Tate became increasingly irrational towards the end of the decade. After a trip to Europe in 1959, he became overwhelmed by the quality of art he saw there (especially that of Georges Braque, whom Tate briefly visited). On his return to America, Tate insisted on borrowing or buying back his paintings from their owners, so he could "improve" them. Apparently unhappy with his work, he then simply destroyed all of the paintings he reacquired—about 99% of his collected works, according to one estimate. Emulating the death of Hart Crane, Tate committed suicide on January 12, 1960, by jumping off the Staten Island ferry."
Oh, what a wonderful wheeze it all was. The brainchild of William Boyd with of course a little help from David Bowie.
Nat Tate (National and Tate), the artist who never existed. A character from a book who made it onto the album 'Outside.'
More Gilbert and George than Gilbert or George
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.