An impressive exhibition of work by Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection is coming to Scotland next month.
The Maclaurin Gallery in Ayr will be the venue for the special showing, which will run from Saturday, 18 August, and runs until Sunday, 30 September.
It will run concurrently as the Fine Art Society in Edinburgh features Radicals, Pioneers and Rebels, from 15 August until 3 September.
The renowned Fleming Collection celebrates its 50th anniversary with these landmark exhibitions, deemed to be the finest outside public institutions, to mark half a century of collecting.
A rare opportunity to see the Collection’s outstanding holding of Scottish Colourists is taking place at the Maclaurin Gallery in Rozelle House.
The exhibition Rhythm of Light: Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection is normally touring museums and galleries south of the Border where it has drawn record crowds. However, this year, the Colourists are making a homecoming.
The Colourist paintings by S J Peploe, J D Fergusson, Leslie Hunter and F C B Cadell, have been at the heart of the Fleming Collection since its inception.
One of the first purchases in 1968 was Hunter’s masterpiece Peonies in a Chinese Vase, which along with other key works such as Peploe’s Luxembourg Gardens, Fergusson’s Blue Nude and Cadell’s The Feathered Hat, reveal the quartet’s remarkable trajectory as artists.
The exhibition charts their careers from the early experimentalism under the sway of Whistler and Manet to the breakthrough impact of the Fauves – the ‘wild beasts’ of contemporary French art – to the mature works of the 1920s which saw a prodigious stream of Colourist painting fusing a Scots sensibility with a Continental palette.
The exhibition at the Maclaurin Gallery can only reinforce the Colourists’ status as four of the most talented, innovative and distinctive artists in 20th century British art.
The theme of refugees, past and present, will take centre stage in Radicals, Pioneers and Rebels at the Fine Art Society.
The show will focus on artists who have challenged the artistic, social and political consensus showing two of the most iconic paintings in the collection, Thomas Faed’s The Last of the Clan and John Watson Nicol’s Lochaber No More, which in their day exposed the human and economic cost of the Highland Clearances.
Bringing the issue up to date will be documentary photographs of the Calais Jungle by Iranian, Iman Tajek, who has just graduated from the Glasgow School of Art.
The exhibition comes with a topical twist thanks to pairing the Highland Clearance paintings with the work of Tajek. The juxtaposition highlights the radicalism of the High Victorians.
Other artists featured include cutting edge Glasgow Boys, Arthur Melville, Joseph Crawhall, James Guthrie and E A Walton; 20th century rebels, Robert Colquhoun and John Bellany; and a group of pioneering women from early 20th century painters, Mabel Pryde and Dorothy Johnstone to their inspired successors John Eardley, Margaret Mellis and Alison Watt.
This exhibition is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.
Director of the Fleming Collection, James Knox, said of the two exhibitions: ‘The aim of our dynamic exhibition programme is to highlight the achievements of Scottish artists to both new and familiar audiences.
‘As such the range of masterworks in the Fleming Collection brings into focus the creativity, adventurousness, intellectual curiosity and native talent of the Scots who are capable of producing timeless works of art that can hold their own in an international context.’
Chairman of the Fleming Collection, Rory Fleming, added: ‘Our 50th anniversary is a great moment in the history of the Collection. These two exhibitions are part of our “museum without walls” strategy, which lends works either individually or as curated shows to galleries – raising the profile and influence of Scottish art and creativity across the UK.’