15/10/19 PRESS RELEASE: Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists
15 October 2019
Images: Scottish Colourists
SCOTTISH COLOURISTS AT ABBOT HALL
Highlights from the Fleming Collection on display in Cumbria
Abbot Hall Art Gallery will present works by the Scottish Colourists in its last major exhibition before it closes for redevelopment.
The Scottish Colourists were a group of four painters whose post-Impressionist work had far-reaching influence on contemporary British art and culture.
This is believed to be the first ever exhibition showing the Colourists alongside those artists influenced by them.
Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists – Highlights from the Fleming Collection features masterpieces from the renowned collection of Scottish art. The exhibition, of 47 works, opens on 18 October 2019 and runs until 1 February 2020.
Chelsea Eves, Abbot Hall curator said: “The exhibition explores not only the ground-breaking artistic achievements of the Scottish Colourists, but for the first time we are also addressing their influence on subsequent generations of Scottish artists and lasting impact on modern British art.
“This has enabled us to present works from our own collection in a whole new light.”
Lakeland Arts and the Fleming Collection have also widened their collaboration to include a display by artists influenced by the Colourists displaying masterworks from Lakeland Arts’ collection including a monumental work by Joan Eardley.
SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter, and FCB Cadell were four of the first artists in Europe to engage with the creative upheavals taking place in France at the turn of the twentieth century, which saw the birth of modern art.
Hailed at the time as international radicals – equal to artists such as Matisse and Picasso – this exhibition reinforces their status as four of the most talented, innovative and distinctive artists in twentieth century British art.
The Colourists did not forget their Scottish roots especially in their brilliance at conveying the unique beauty of Scottish landscape, marking them out as French inspired artists with a singular Scottish identity.
SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter, and FCB Cadell were the most gifted of their generation. The exhibition at Abbot Hall, Kendal, Cumbria, reinforces their status as four of the most talented, innovative and distinctive artists in twentieth century British art.
Work by the Colourists has been at the heart of the Fleming Collection since its inception in 1968 with Hunter’s masterpiece Peonies in a Chinese Vase being one of its first purchases.
This was followed by key works such as Peploe’s Luxembourg Gardens, Fergusson’s Blue Nude and Cadell’s The Feathered Hat: Paintings that reveal the quartet’s remarkable trajectory as artists.
Chelsea Eves added: “We are thrilled to host our first collaborative exhibition with the Fleming Collection. This is a fantastic opportunity to display masterpieces by the Colourists from the Fleming Collection’s exceptional array of Scottish Art, alongside Abbot Hall’s much-loved painting by S J Peploe, Still Life with Oranges and Tulips (1926).”
A selection of works from Lakeland Arts’ collection will explore the influence of the Scottish Colourists on artists such as Anne Redpath, William George Gillies and Joan Eardley.
James Knox, Director of the Fleming Collection said: “The Scottish Colourists were fearless in becoming truly modern artists – determined as painters to crack the code of expressing the reality of contemporary life. This exhibition reveals their concentrated brilliance reflected in their ability to produce challenging work of great beauty and delight."
Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists – Highlights from the Fleming Collection is sponsored by Rathbones Kendal.
Richard Dawson, Managing Director of Rathbones Kendal, said: "This is a vibrant final exhibition before Abbot Hall closes for redevelopment, bringing works from the Fleming Collection to join Abbot Hall's own Scottish Colourist pieces.
“As long-time sponsors of Lakeland Arts, we're delighted to support world-class arts and culture right on our doorstep - and we’d like to congratulate Abbot Hall on curating another remarkable exhibition in Kendal.”
Abbot Hall will close for redevelopment in summer 2020. The total cost of the project is £9.6m. Multi-award-winning MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects), is the lead architect for the scheme.
The planned redevelopment will mean visitors can experience world class art in redesigned exhibition galleries. It would also see improved accessibility and landscaping making Abbot Hall a welcoming and vibrant place that everyone can enjoy.
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Abbot Hall Art Gallery:
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal opened in 1962. It has built up an outstanding collection and a strong reputation for showing exhibitions of national and international artists of the highest quality. In 2018 it showed work ranging from Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin to contemporary artists Elisabeth Frink and Alison Watt. The gallery and surrounding estate will undergo a major redevelopment planned to start in 2020.
The Fleming Collection:
The Fleming Collection dates back to 1968 when investment bank, Robert Fleming & Co, began to acquire Scottish art to hang in its offices worldwide. From the start, it was decided to acquire Scottish works from all periods to reflect the roots of the bank’s founder, Robert Fleming, who was born in 1845 in Dundee. Today the collection, which is now owned by a charitable foundation, consists of over 600 works dating from the seventeenth century to the present day and is the finest collection of Scottish art outside public institutions. The collection pursues a museum without walls strategy to promote Scottish art and creativity, largely outside Scotland, through a programme of exhibitions, cultural diplomacy, publishing and education.
Rathbones Kendal is a prestigious wealth management firm renowned for offering its clients high quality financial services while still retaining a truly local feel. Rathbones Kendal regularly sponsors exhibitions at Abbot Hall: Julian Cooper (2017), Graham Sutherland (2013), Francis Bacon to Paula Rego (2012), Sheila Fell (2011). The firm routinely invests in supporting Cumbria's cultural scene and in developing local talent and leadership. Previous initiatives have included sponsorship of the Brathay Trust's Aspiring Leaders Programme, the Lake District Summer Music Festival, Lancashire's Haffner Orchestra and providing free investment advice to charity trustees. Rathbones Kendal is part of Rathbone Brothers PLC - one of the UK’s largest and longest established wealth management firms, established in 1742.
Lakeland Arts has a portfolio of galleries and museums in the Lake District. It’s venues are Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House. A new museum: Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories opened in March 2019.
Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry:
Abbot Hall also houses the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in the former coach house and stables. The Museum opened in 1971. Immerse yourself in Lake District history, discover the region’s past in farming, mining and tanning. Find out about Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome and stroll down a Victorian Street. The Museum also has a regular programme of exhibitions.
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House:
Blackwell is situated in Bowness-on-Windermere and is architect MH Baillie Scott's greatest house. Built as a Lake District rural holiday retreat for the Manchester brewery owner, Sir Edward Holt, today it is an outstanding example of an Arts & Crafts House. Retaining most of its original decorative features. It is a perfect setting for exhibitions of historical and contemporary craft.
Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories:
Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories opened on 23 March 2019. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, this is a new world-class museum in a stunning setting on Windermere displaying an internationally important collection of boats which are all associated with Windermere. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the major funder for the Museum. Grants are made possible by National Lottery players. The project is also supported by Regional Growth Fund and Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.
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- S J Peploe, Luxembourg Gardens, c. 1910, The Fleming-Wyfold Collection