Although Samuel John Peploe is generally referred to as a ‘Scottish Colourist,’ and his choice of colour palette is always a joy to behold, thinking of him in this way can restrict the enjoyment of the other aspects of his artistic approach, especially in a work such as A Street in Paris. The colour choice is charming: deeps swathes of white sweep across the composition, the sky and details delineated in soft blue, green and grey and gently uplifted with just hints of a darker rusty red and deeper, richer blue. The slightly chalky finish to the white areas is an approach Peploe continued to use to startling effect later in his career when he became captivated with the white sands and turquoise seas of the Scottish isle of Iona. Yet in 1911, when Paris was still his artists’ haven, he uses it to convey the soft northern light and urban elegance he found in the city. Taking the opportunity to look beyond colour, it is his brushwork that energises the scene, indicating everything from the direction of the street to the outlines of the trees, this vitality balancing out the subtlety of his palette. Everything feels quick, light and inspired; the northern light and urban sensibility of the city expertly captured, striking a deep contrast to the bright, hot sunshine which would inspire him as he travelled further south.
The Scottish Colourists were united by their passion for both France and French painting, seeking out its artistic freedom and all the inspiration it had to offer. In particular, Peploe had a long-lasting love affair with the city and its artistic circles, rejecting more traditional art training in Edinburgh to study at its ateliers and academies and mingle with its artists early in his life. He returned later, following his marriage to Margaret, to live and work alongside his good friend and fellow Scottish Colourist, John Duncan Fergusson, in the period from which this work dates. He found the city a font of inspiration, particularly as a man and artist eternally preoccupied with style and dedicated to elegance; the promenading figures illustrated here are a true testament to this.
This December we are delighted to present our Scottish Paintings & Sculpture sale in Edinburgh featuring more works by Peploe.
AUCTION | Scottish Paintings & Sculpture | Thursday 4 December 2020 at 14:00 | Edinburgh
VIEWING | By Appointment from 28 Nov to 04 Dec.