The untamed beauty of the Scottish landscape has preoccupied artists for centuries.
In the nineteenth century, idealised and fantastical scenes gave way to a taste for more naturalistic Scottish landscapes. It was around this time that the ‘Scottish Impressionism’ style flourished.
One proponent of this style was George Houston, a prolific landscape painter in both watercolour and oils. Houston was particularly known for his scenes of the west of Scotland, where he preferred to work en plein air, immersed in his surroundings. Illustrated here is Houston's The Old Road, Glenorchy, a tranquil depiction of the Highland parish in Argyll and Bute.
Tom Robertson's impressionistic style was influenced by his studies at the Glasgow School and the Académie Julian in Paris. This painting of Glen Dochart demonstrates Robertson’s remarkable ability to paint landscapes bathed with hazy, atmospheric light.
The advent of modernism had a profound effect on Scottish painting. Artists began to explore exciting new ways to record landscape. They no longer sought only to capture its likeness, but also to record its more intangible qualities, such as atmosphere, character and feeling.
David McLeod Martin was renowned for his contemporary approach to Scottish landscape painting that experimented with shape and movement. In Borders Hillside, Martin implements varied, energetic brushwork and explores form and colour to create this dynamic and emotive composition.
Martin said, "work derived from landscape explores the rhythmic lines and related shapes which are sometimes echoed in other areas of the painting. This sometimes leads to a simplified statement bordering on abstraction, which is the quality of landscape which interests me".
Contemporary Scottish artist Sheila MacNab MacMillan was a student of Geography, and her semi-abstract landscape paintings were profoundly impacted by both her understanding of land formation and the artistic training she recieved from her uncle, founding principal of the Grosvenor School of Modern Art and renown painter and wood-engraver, Iain Macnab. MacMillan’s interest in structure is evident in On Easdale Island, which explores the relationship between the cluster of buildings and the natural landscape that surrounds them.
From Romantic Highland epics to the Scottish Colourists, European painting has been integral to the development of the Scottish landscape tradition. Our Paintings & Works on Paper sale features a diverse selection of examples by Scottish artists applying their distinctive vision to European landscapes.
During the early 1900s, Paris was the epicentre of the art world - a melting pot for the avant-garde artists, writers and poets of the day. Enchanted by the culture and life of the city, John Duncan Fergusson divided much of his time between Paris and London. Fergusson was highly influenced by the French modern movements of the early 20th century and thrived in the artistic setting of Paris, befriending acclaimed artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac. Here, we see Fergusson enjoying the French countryside, capturing the landscape in delicate flicks of watercolour in Wooded Landscape, France.
Living and working across Europe for many years, Ann Oram draws inspiration from her travels to create works that feel ephemeral and intimate. This Venetian scene contrasts watercolour washes with spindly structural mark-making to evoke the timeless quality of a Venetian plaza.