The New Scottish Group was a loose collection of artists based in Glasgow, who exhibited from 1942 to 1956. It was formed around John Duncan Fergusson after his return to Glasgow in 1939. It had its origins in the New Art Club formed in 1940, and had its first exhibition in 1942. Members did not have a common style, but shared left-wing views and were influenced by contemporary continental art. Members included Donald Bain, William Crosbie, Marie de Banzie and Isabel Babianska. Tom MacDonald, Bet Low and William Senior formed the Clyde Group to pursue political painting that manifested in urban industrial landscapes. The group helped start the careers of a generation of Glasgow-based artists and was part of a wider cultural "golden age" for the city.
John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961), who was the longest surviving of the group of artists known as the Scottish Colourists, had settled in France, but returned to Scotland in 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, with his partner, the dancer and choreographer Margaret Morris (1891–1980). There he became a leading figure of a group of younger Glasgow artists. Members of Fergusson's group formed the New Art Club in 1940, in opposition to the established Glasgow Art Club. In 1942 they held the first of what would be a series of shows of their own exhibiting society, the New Scottish Group, with Fergusson as its first president. The introduction to the catalogue of their first show was written by novelist and poet Naomi Mitchison (1897–1999).The group held annual exhibitions in the period 1943–48, and larger shows in 1951 and 1956.
Important to the artists was the nationalist and left-wing publisher William MacLellan, who produced a number of works of Glasgow artists in the 1940s, including Fergusson's book Modern Scottish Painting (1943), which expressed his anti-academic and democratic ideals and his desire to form a British equivalent to the French Salon des Indépendants.Members of the group were involved in two of MacLellan's magazines in this period, supplying visual material or Poetry Scotland (1943–49) and Scottish Art and Letters (1944–50), which played an important part in disseminating ideas of the Scottish Renaissance. Fergusson designed the covers for Scottish Art and Letters and acted as its artistic director. Fergusson also illustrated MacLellan's edition of by Hugh MacDiarmid's In Memoriam James Joyce (1955) and his paintings from this period included Danu mother of the Gods, both of which combined elements of Celtic culture and modernism. In their last exhibition in 1956 the group displayed with another organisation, the Society of Scottish Independent Artists, a title that recalled Fergusson's ambition. Fergusson died in 1961.
The group had no single style, but shared left-wing tendencies and included artists strongly influenced by trends in contemporary continental art. Painters involved included Donald Bain (1904–79), whose work was often crowded with rich colour and heavily worked paint, as in his The Striped Vase (1943), which was influenced by expressionism. William Crosbie (1915–99) was strongly influenced by surrealism,which can be seen in his Heart Knife (1934), an early example of a Scottish artist using the semi-abstract style derived from cubism. Margaret Oliver Brown (1912–90) was known for her portraiture. Marie de Banzie (1918–90) was influenced by expressionism and particularity the post-expressionist work of Gauguin, as can be seen in her 1945 painting Shadow, which borrows from his Haitian pictures. Isabel Brodie Babianska (1920–2006), who had trained with de Banzie at the Glasgow School of Art, was influenced by expressionist Chaïm Soutine, as can be seen in the collection of grotesque faces in her painting Fiesta (1943). Expressionism can also be seen as an influence on the work of Millie Frood (1900–88), in dislocated landscapes such as October (1946) and Turning Hay, which included vivid colours and brushwork reminiscent of Van Gogh. Frood's urban scenes contain an element of social commentary and realism, influenced by Polish refugees Josef Herman (1911–2000), resident in Glasgow between 1940 and 1943 and Jankel Adler (1895–1949), who was based in Kirkcudbright from 1941 to 1943. Also influenced by Herman were husband and wife Tom MacDonald (1914–85) and Bet Low (1924–2007), who with painter William Senior (b. 1927) formed the Clyde Group, aimed at promoting political art. Their work included industrial and urban landscapes such as MacDonald's Transport Depot (1944–45) and Bet Low's Blochairn Steelworks (c. 1946).
The New Scottish Group helped launch the careers of a number of young artists.It was also part of a cultural "golden age" for Glasgow, that included dance, theatre, literature and architecture. This included Margaret Morris' foundation of a professional dance troop, Celtic Ballet, in 1947, which combined traditional Scottish and classical dance.
Modernism is both a philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new forms of art, philosophy, and social organization which reflected the newly emerging industrial world, including features such as urbanization, new technologies, and war. Artists attempted to depart from traditional forms of art, which they considered outdated or obsolete. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it New" was the touchstone of the movement's approach.
Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York City in the 1940s. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence and put New York at the center of the Western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris.
The Scottish Colourists were a group of four painters, three from Edinburgh, whose Post-Impressionist work, though not universally recognized initially, came to have a formative influence on contemporary Scottish art and culture. They were Francis Cadell, John Duncan Fergusson, Leslie Hunter and Samuel Peploe.
The Scottish Renaissance was a mainly literary movement of the early to mid-20th century that can be seen as the Scottish version of modernism. It is sometimes referred to as the Scottish literary renaissance, although its influence went beyond literature into music, visual arts, and politics. The writers and artists of the Scottish Renaissance displayed a profound interest in both modern philosophy and technology, as well as incorporating folk influences, and a strong concern for the fate of Scotland's declining languages.
The culture of Scotland refers to the patterns of human activity and symbolism associated with Scotland and the Scottish people. Some elements of Scottish culture, such as its separate national church, are protected in law, as agreed in the Treaty of Union and other instruments. The Scottish flag is blue with a white saltire, and represents the cross of Saint Andrew.
The Glasgow School was a circle of influential artists and designers that began to coalesce in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1870s, and flourished from the 1890s to around 1910. Representative groups included The Four, the Glasgow Girls and the Glasgow Boys. Part of the international Art Nouveau movement, they were responsible for creating the distinctive Glasgow Style.
John Duncan Fergusson was a Scottish artist and sculptor, regarded as one of the major artists of the Scottish Colourists school of painting.
George Leslie Hunter was a Scottish painter, regarded as one of the four artists of the Scottish Colourists group of painters. Christened simply George Hunter, he adopted the name Leslie in San Francisco, and Leslie Hunter became his professional name. Showing an aptitude for drawing at an early age, he was largely self-taught, receiving only elementary painting lessons from a family acquaintance. He spent fifteen formative years from the age of fifteen in the US, mainly in California. He then returned to Scotland, painting and drawing there and in Paris. Subsequently, he travelled widely in Europe, especially in the South of France, but also in the Netherlands, the Pas de Calais and Italy.
Scottish art is the body of visual art made in what is now Scotland, or about Scottish subjects, since prehistoric times. It forms a distinctive tradition within European art, but the political union with England has led its partial subsumation in British art.
Margaret Morris was a British dancer, choreographer and teacher. She founded the Margaret Morris Movement, Celtic Ballet, and two Scottish National Ballets in Glasgow (1947) and in Pitlochry (1960). Morris devised a system of movement notation, which was first published in 1928.
The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (RGI) is an independent organisation in Glasgow, founded in 1861, which promotes contemporary art and artists in Scotland. The Institute organizes the largest and most prestigious annual art exhibition in Scotland - open to all artists.
Scottish art in the nineteenth century is the body of visual art made in Scotland, by Scots, or about Scottish subjects. This period saw the increasing professionalisation and organisation of art in Scotland. Major institutions founded in this period included the Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy of Art, the National Gallery of Scotland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Glasgow Institute. Art education in Edinburgh focused on the Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh. Glasgow School of Art was founded in 1845 and Grays School of Art in Aberdeen in 1885.
William (Bill) Crosbie was a Scottish painter. His work hangs in all major museums and galleries in Scotland and is part of the Royal Collection.
Art in modern Scotland includes all aspects of the visual arts in the country since the beginning of the twentieth century. In the early twentieth century, the art scene was dominated by the work of the members of the Glasgow School known as the Four, led Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who gained an international reputation for their combination of Celtic revival, Art and Crafts and Art Nouveau. They were followed by the Scottish Colourists and the Edinburgh School. There was a growing interest in forms of Modernism, with William Johnstone helping to develop the concept of a Scottish Renaissance. In the post-war period, major artists, including John Bellany and Alexander Moffat, pursued a strand of "Scottish realism". Moffat's influence can be seen in the work of the "new Glasgow Boys" from the late twentieth century. In the twenty-first century Scotland has continued to produce influential artists such as Douglas Gordon and Susan Philipsz.
Landscape painting in Scotland includes all forms of painting of landscapes in Scotland since its origins in the sixteenth century to the present day. The earliest examples of Scottish landscape painting are in the tradition of Scottish house decoration that arose in the sixteenth century. Often said to be the earliest surviving painted landscape created in Scotland is a depiction by the Flemish artist Alexander Keirincx undertaken for Charles I.
Elizabeth "Bessie" MacNicol (1869–1904) was a Scottish painter and member of the Glasgow Girls group of artists affiliated with the Glasgow School of artists.
Margaret Oliver Brown was a Scottish painter and illustrator. She worked as a commercial artist before studying painting at Glasgow School of Art (1937–41). She was a founder member of the New Scottish Group.
Isabel Brodie Babianska was a Scottish painter and founder member of the New Scottish Group. She worked on various commissions as a costume and stage designer, and as an illustrator and model.
Bet Low was a Scottish figurative and landscape painter, notable as one of the Glasgow Girls, and as a co-founder of the Clyde Group.