William Scott

Whites and sienna, 1962

Oil on canvas: 8.5(h) x 10.5(w) in /

21.6(h) x 26.7(w) cm

Signed on the reverse: W. Scott; dated and inscribed on the stretcher: WHITES & SIENA 1962

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BB 312

 

WILLIAM SCOTT CBE RA

Greenock 1913 – 1989 Somerset

 

Whites and sienna, 1962

 

Signed on the reverse: W. Scott; dated and inscribed

on the stretcher: WHITES & SIENA 1962

Oil on canvas: 8 ½ x 10 ½ in / 21.6 x 26.7 cm

Frame size: 16 x 18 in / 40.6 x 45.7 cm

In a polished wood ‘Nicholson’ style frame

 

Provenance:

Hanover Gallery, London;

Jean-Yves Mock, London, acquired from the above

 

Exhibited:

London, Hanover Gallery, William Scott recent paintings, 5th June–6th July 1963, no.18

Belfast, Ulster Museum, William Scott, 12th September–5th October 1963, no.46

 

Literature:

Sarah Whitfield (ed.), William Scott Catalogue Raisonné of Oil Paintings, Vol. 3, 1960-1968, Thames & Hudson in association with the William Scott Foundation, London, 2013, p.132, no.513, illus. in colour

 

 

William Scott’s paintings from 1958 to 1962 have been called ‘Evocative Abstractions’, as the objects in his paintings assumed softer outlines and the forms became more fluid. Alan Bowness commented on this period: ‘With the suggestion of graffiti and the textures of caves and walls, there seems to be a deliberate searching for a link with antiquity. We know of the profound impression that cave painting made on Scott…The manner of titling the pictures changes from the descriptive

to the evocative: rich paint surfaces predominate, at times reducing the colour to a monochromatic tablet.’[1] This serene, small work plays on the texture of the canvas, increasingly obscured by layers of luminous white paint, its opacity increased to the generous vertical brushstrokes on the left, echoed in a single stroke of sienna floating horizontally at the top right corner. Within the flat, abstract forms, Scott’s resonant colours sing as the play of his brushwork enlivens its rich surface. In

1961, Scott was one of four artists chosen to represent their country at the VI Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo and was awarded the acquisition prize. David Thompson wrote in the accompanying catalogue: ‘Scott is today one of the most individual and powerful of British painters, but he has won his position by a combination of qualities untypical of British painting – a natural austerity and instinct for abstract form, coupled with a sensuous awareness of the physical world

and concern for the absolute, pictorial values of painting.’

 

 

Note on provenance

Mons Jean-Yves Mock was steadfast champion of the avant-garde for almost half a century.  A respected dealer, curator, critic and friend of artists such as René Magritte and Louise Nevelson he worked alongside Erica Brausen at the Hanover Gallery in London from 1956 until its closure in 1973 and helped to launch the careers of some of the most successful artists of the twentieth century.

 

William Scott’s paintings from 1958 to 1962 have been called ‘Evocative Abstractions’, indeed during these years the objects in his paintings assumed softer outlines and the forms became more fluid.  Alan Bowness commented on this period: ‘With the suggestions of graffiti and the textures of caves and walls, there seems to be a deliberate searching for a link with antiquity. We know of the profound impression that cave painting made on Scott and of his feeling for the English countryside in which he works….The manner of titling the pictures changes from the descriptive to the evocative: rich paint surfaces predominate, at times reducing the colour to a monochromatic tablet.’ (Alan Bowness, William Scott: Paintings Drawings and Gouaches 1938-71, The Tate Gallery, 1972, p. 52)

WILLIAM SCOTT RA CBE

Greenock, Scotland 1913 – 1989 Somerset

 

Born in Greenock, Scotland on the 15th February 1913 to an Irish father and Scottish mother, William Scott grew up in Enniskillen, a small town in Northern Ireland.  He studied at Belfast College of Art from 1928-31 and at the Royal Academy Schools in London from 1931-35, first in the sculpture school then from 1934 in painting.  During his education at the Royal Academy, Scott won a silver medal for sculpture, became a Landseer scholar in painting and on leaving the schools was awarded a Leverhulme Scholarship.  In 1936 Scott worked for six months in Mousehole, Cornwall.  The following year he married a fellow student at the Royal Academy, Mary Lucas.  For the next two years William and Mary Scott travelled and lived abroad, mainly in France, Venice and Rome.  William, Mary and Geoffrey Nelson ran an art school at Pont-Aven in Brittany in the summer months of 1938 and 1939, living for the rest of the year in the south at St. Tropez and Cagnes–sur-mer.  In 1938 he was elected Sociétaire du Salon d’Automne, Paris.  He left France in the autumn of 1939, spending a few months in Dublin before returning to London.  In January 1941 he took a cottage at Hallatrow, near Bristol, where he ran a market garden and taught part-time at Bath Academy. 

 

In 1942 Scott was given his first one-man exhibition at the Leger Galley, London.  The same year he volunteered for the army and served nearly four years from 1942-6 in the Royal Engineers, during which time his painting practically ceased.  While in the map making section, Scott learnt the technique of lithography.  In 1945 he illustrated the Soldier’s Verse, chosen by Patric Dickenson with original lithographs by W Scott.

 

In 1946 Scott was appointed Senior Painting Master at Bath Academy, Corsham.  He was elected a member of the London Group in 1949 and in 1953, after teaching at a summer school in Canada, Scott visited New York, where he met Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Frans Kline.  In 1958 a retrospective exhibition of Scott’s work was exhibited at the British Pavillion at the Venice Biennale, and he was commissioned to create a large mural for Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry.  In 1959 he was awarded first prize in the painters section at John Moores Liverpool Exhibition.  William Scott died on the 28th December 1989.

 

[1] Alan Bowness, William Scott: Paintings Drawings and Gouaches 1938–71, Tate Gallery Publications, 1972, p.52.

Post War BritishWilliam Scott