Monday, August 23, 2010

National Galleries of Scotland to Celebrate the Work of William McTaggart

[William McTaggart, Study for the Painting ‘Dawn at Sea. Homewards’ c.1891. Watercolour and bodycolour over charcoal on paper: 28.60 x 39.80 cm. National Gallery of Scotland]

EDINBURGH.- This year marks the centenary of the death of William McTaggart, one of Scotland’s best-loved artists. The National Gallery of Scotland will celebrate his life and work with a small exhibition featuring over 25 stunning watercolours, small oil paintings and compositional studies as well as a selection of rarely seen personal memorabilia.

William McTaggart has long been regarded as one of the most outstanding and innovative Scottish artists. He was the son of a crofter, born near Aros in Kintyre on the west coast of Scotland and, unlike many of his contemporaries, he chose to work almost exclusively in Scotland. His native land was a constant source of inspiration and provided him with a wealth of subject matter – everyday scenes of fishing communities, breathtaking views of the ocean, and sheltered bays along the Scottish coast all feature heavily in his work. His pictures have a strong emotional content linking people with nature, such as children playing in the surf, fishermen battling with storms or emigrants setting sail for America.

Highlights of the exhibition include studies for some of McTaggarts best known oil paintings such as a delicate pencil study for Spring and an atmospheric study in watercolour for Dawn at Sea. Homewards. There will also be a selection of rarely seen personal memorabilia including the artist’s paint palette, brushes, sketchbooks and Royal Scottish Academy medals. Touching photography from the McTaggart family album will also be on display depicting his true inspiration – his family and surroundings.

The exhibition will be complemented by a small display which will examine McTaggart’s early artistic training at Edinburgh College of Art and features rare studies made by McTaggart when he was a young student.

[William McTaggart, Two Children Paddling, Dated 1877 (detail). Watercolour and bodycolour on paper: 35.50 x 53.20 cm. National Gallery of Scotland]

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