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European art prize for Susan Gunn

PUBLISHED: 00:17 14 January 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 19 July 2010

Susan's winning artwork, Specto Spectus I & II.

Susan's winning artwork, Specto Spectus I & II.

RACHEL BULLER

European glory might have eluded her husband in the sporting arena, but artist Susan Gunn was celebrating winning a major international honour last night.

RACHEL BULLER

European glory might have eluded her husband in the sporting arena, but artist Susan Gunn was celebrating winning a major international honour last night.

Mrs Gunn, 41, wife of former Norwich City goalkeeping hero Bryan, has won the inaugural Sovereign European Art Prize from a shortlist of 30 other artists across the continent.

Yesterday, she rubbed shoulders with her friendly rivals from as far afield as the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia and Germany, as she collected the prestigious e25,000 award at Bonham's auction house in London, where her work has been on display.

She beat more than 300 other European artists with her 8ft by 10ft red painting entitled Specto Spectus I & II.

It has been described as "a carmine-coloured painting whose subtle surface textures speak of an overt male world of leather bound clubs, but also a subversive powerful female reality that links it to blood and veins which appear to work below the surface".

Last night she said: "I was just overwhelmed to be on the shortlist of such an award at this stage in my career.

"But having gone to Bonhams last week and having seen my work displayed with beautifully lighting in the company of such other prestigious artists, it did look quite stunning and I allowed myself a 1pc hope that it could win.

"I know I am committed artist and those who know me, know how hard I work and how dedicated I am to this, but to the judges I was just an emerging talent. So it is amazing that they had the courage to make me the winner when they could have gone for a more high profile established artist."

It has been a fast rise to fame for Mrs Gunn, who only began to take her artistic talents seriously about six years ago when her youngest child started school full-time.

The plaudits quickly began to follow and she was soon winning awards, receiving the Bishop's Art Prize in 2003 and collecting a first class BA Hons degree in fine art from Norwich School of Art and Design last year.

Her nomination for the award came from fellow Norfolk artist Colin Self.

The shortlist for the new prize, was drawn up by a panel of European curators chaired by Sir Peter Blake, creator of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper album cover.

Sir Peter said: "What is really encouraging about this Prize is the fact that the Sovereign Art Foundation plans to use the money raised at the auction to fund worthy causes in the arts."

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