The artistic link between Scotland and France in the early decades of the 20th century was strong and, in many ways, remarkable. Famously, the Scottish Colourists Fergusson, Peploe, Cadell and Hunter forged a path in Paris ahead of many of their English counterparts, quickly absorbing and reacting to the work of their heroes of the Post-Impressionist school. Milne was the son of traditional landscape artist Joseph Milne and, though his very early work is indebted to his father’s influence, he soon turned his attention to developments on the Continent. Though a generation younger than his fellow compatriots in France, Maclauchlan Milne followed exuberantly in their tradition; earning himself the moniker of “The Fifth Colourist”.
A Dundee newspaper reported: ‘It is difficult keeping pace with Mr. Maclauchlan Milne. A year ago he was painting Scottish fields with the soft sunlight and mellow atmosphere. Then Paris seized him, and he gave us canvases splashed with vivid colour, radiating gaiety and the joy of life. Now he has drunk “a beaker full of the warm South” and has brought back from the azure shore pictures that palpitate with hot sunlight and dazzle with their audacious colour.’
His ties with Scotland remained strong, and ultimately he was to settle on the Isle of Arran, making his home near Corrie harbour. The effect of the brilliant French light never deserted Milne, and his depictions of Arran are virtually always of idyllically bright days, featuring white-washed cottages, wind-ruffled blossom trees and turquoise bays. Milne’s form by this period is often experimentally free and unfettered; the foliage and proportions of the house almost swirling with movement and expression, alluding, perhaps, to the work of one of his greatest influences, Vincent Van Gogh.
This June, we are delighted to be offering four works by John Maclauchlan Milne in our flagship auction of Scottish Paintings & Sculpture in Edinburgh.