Aberdeen Fisherman

Aberdeen Fisherman

A Work from John Bellany's Strongest Decade

We are delighted to present Aberdeen Fisherman, a museum-quality work from Bellany's strongest decade of output, to auction in our 06 April Contemporary & Post-War Art // Prints & Multiples sale. 

This fantastic example of Bellany’s work dates from 1971, arguably his strongest decade of output, and is a museum-quality example from the period.


John Bellany - Aberdeen Fisherman
Signed upper right, oil on canvas | 161cm x 99cm (63.25in x 39in) |£10,000 - £15,000 + fees


View Lot 91 ⇒


Sandy Moffatt, the Scottish artist and educator, was a fellow student and subsequent close lifelong friend of Bellany’s. He reminisced about the picture for us:

“If I recall correctly, John came up from London for summer breaks….visiting his old haunts in Rose Street and re-charging his batteries.

Leaving his angst-ridden London work behind him he produced these gentler ‘realist’ paintings of solitary old codgers….

He would let his imagination run riot and would invent individual life stories for his characters… old sailors who had sailed the seven seas, old soldiers who had seen action in numerous wars… and so on.”

In this work, a lone figure of a thin old man gazes off into the middle distance, a short whiskey glass nursed in one hand, and a thin walking cane over the crook of his arm. Surreally, a large fish lies dead and glassy-eyed on the table top.

Anecdotally titled Aberdeen Fisherman, the gentleman in fact cuts something of an elegant figure, with erect bearing and crossed legs, and clothed in a beret and long black coat. Interestingly, the same figure recurs in the 1972 work ‘Two Drinkers’, which is a more expansive composition featuring a pub interior and a second seated companion; a woman eating a poke of chips.


We are grateful to Alexander Moffat for his assistance cataloguing this lot.


Auction Information


Contemporary & Post-War Art - Lot: 1 to 128, Wednesday 06 April 2022 10:00

Prints & Multiples - Lot: 129 to 244, Wednesday 06 April 2022 14:00

Live Online | Edinburgh


View the catalogue ⇒




Contemporary & Post-War Art


Characterised by competitive bidding, strong results and a high selling rate, our Contemporary & Post-War Art sales are among our most popular auctions. Held three times a year in our Scottish saleroom, highlights are also regularly exhibited in our London gallery. Our strong private client base and excellent international marketing reach has seen these sales grow into flagships of our company.

Encompassing works by both emerging and internationally regarded contemporary artists and sculptors, we have achieved top prices for household names including John Hoyland (a world record), Bridget Riley, Eduardo Paolozzi (a world record for a sculpture), Terry Frost, Nicholas Party, Alison Watt and Callum Innes. Regularly featured local favourites include John Bellany and the ‘New Glasgow Boys’ Peter Howson, Ken Currie, Steven Campbell, as well as John Byrne and Alasdair Gray.


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