Born in 1890 in Bath, the Communist artist, Doris Brabham Hatt trained in Vienna and became a painter, designer and printmaker. She studied at the School of Art in Bath, then at Royal College of Art and in Vienna. Exhibitions included Royal Academy, Leicester and Redfern Galleries, Jack Bilbo’s Modern Art Gallery, and Foyles Gallery.
For a while, in the 1920s she mingled in the circle that surrounded Picasso in Paris, which shifted her away from a naturalistic post-impressionistic style to a more radical modernism, encompassing even cubism and other styles. Although she went back to a more personalised naturalism in later life, the works of her late period still possess a strong modernist sense of colour and boldness of composition.
Her work in posterity still interest and there have been numerous exhibitions, including the Redfern and Leicester Galleries, as well as in continental Europe. Her work is represented in several major public collections. She not only painted but was also a wood carver.
In 1932, the artist had a remarkable modernist house built for her in in the seaside town of Clevedon, Somerset, to her own design. The house replaced a wooden ex-army bungalows with a veranda front, which she had put on the site after the First World War.
She later scandalised polite Clevedon by living here with her partner Margery Mack Smith. To make matters worse, it is said, this artist, writer and lesbian attempted to sell the Daily Worker to locals! But her message couldn’t have fallen on such stony ears. Possibly a legacy bequethed by Hatt to Clevedon was that A C (Bert) Searle was elected a Communist councillor for the Urban District Council of Clevedon in North Somerset in the 1930s; he was repeatedly re-elected up until at least May 1957.
In the 1950s and 1960s she had a series of one-woman shows at various galleries, plus a retrospective at RWA.
Hatt died in 1969 and Margery, also born in 1890 – but in Bristol – died in 1975, aged 84.
Sources include Various editions of the Daily Worker and http://www.katharinehousegallery.co.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=artists