A feast of colour on the menu at the City Art Centre
Published Friday 20 July 2012
Art lovers have much to whet their appetite in Edinburgh this summer and those looking for a large helping of homegrown Scottish art will be especially well catered for at the City Art Centre.
The Market Street gallery is hosting the biggest survey exhibition in 70 years by the acclaimed Scottish artist George Leslie Hunter (1877-1931) as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.
Hunter was one of a group of four artists now known collectively as the Scottish Colourists - the others being FCB Cadell, JD Fergusson and SJ Peploe. Born in Rothesay and influenced by the Post-Impressionists such as Cézanne and Van Gogh, Hunter's reputation was enhanced when, in 1923, his work was shown alongside that of Peploe and Cadell in London. The following year, Peploe, Fergusson, Hunter and Cadell exhibited together for the first time in Paris under the banner Les Peintres de l'Écosse Moderne.
Although they never worked as a group and their art developed at different rates, there were times when the Colourist artists painted together in twos and threes in France or Iona. What they had in common was a love for bold colour in their painting. Their work revitalised Scottish art and has influenced succeeding generations of Scottish artists to this day.
Leslie Hunter: A Life in Colour (21 July to 14 October) spans two floors of the City Art Centre, featuring around 80 works drawn from public and private collections throughout the UK. The selected works are of varying sizes and cover all aspects of Hunter's working practice (illustrations, drawings, prints, watercolours and oil paintings), from his earliest work to that of his final years. Admission is £5 or £3.50 for concessions.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener of Culture and Leisure, said: "We're absolutely delighted that the City Art Centre is hosting the biggest Hunter survey exhibition in over half a century. We expect the exhibition to be very popular - we know from the extraordinary success of our Scottish Art 1650-2010 show last year that there is a huge appetite for Scottish Art among Scots and visitors alike."
Bill Smith, co-author of a new book on sale as part of the exhibition: "Today paintings by the Scottish Colourists - Peploe, Fergusson, Hunter and Cadell - are recognized and collected internationally. However Leslie Hunter has not received the same level of attention and acclaim as the other three. His vision of art and his painting are still misunderstood and underrated by many in the art world. Yet Hunter at the top of his form has few equals in Scottish, if not British painting. It was Peploe who said of a painting by Hunter: 'That is Hunter at his best, and it is as fine as any Matisse.'
"This retrospective of Hunter's work, the first for 70 years, seeks to redress this imbalance. Hunter Revisited, the first major biography of the artist for 75 years, which I co-wrote with Jill Marriner, has been published by Atelier Books to coincide with this exhibition, and is available from the City Art Centre."
To complement this major exhibition, which follows the recent highly successful Cadell show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the City Art Centre's summer season also features The Scottish Colourists: Inspiration and Influence, a one-floor display selected from the City's collection of Scottish Art and enhanced by a number of loans from the Royal Scottish Academy and the Fleming Collection in London. Admission to this exhibition is free.
Also on show at the City Art Centre this summer is Human Race: inside the history of sports medicine, a touring exhibition of Scottish collections, newly commissioned artworks and rarely seen film footage. The exhibition, which is an official part of the Cultural Olympiad for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was created by the Scotland and Medicine Partnership, a group of 23 organisations led by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
It explores the impact of the history, culture and science of sport and exercise medicine on the human body. Admission to this exhibition is free.