Scottish Colourists at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

The last major exhibition at Kendal’s Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Cumbria, before it closes for redevelopment, features highlights from the Fleming Collection.

Colour and Light: The Art and Influence of the Scottish Colourists – Highlights from the Fleming Collection‘, features masterpieces from this renowned collection of Scottish art with an exhibition of 47 works. The exhibition runs from 18th October 2019 to 1st February 2020. (pictured left: SJ Peploe – Luxembourg Gadens circa 1910).

The Scottish Colourists were a group of four painters whose post-impressionist work had far-reaching influence on contemporary British art and culture. SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter and FCB Cadell, were four of the first artists in Europe to engage with the creative upheavals taking place in France at the turn of the 20th century, which saw the birth of modern art.

This is believed to be the first ever exhibition showing the Colourists alongside those artists who were influenced by them, enabled by Lakeland Arts and the Fleming Collection widening their collaboration to include  masterworks from Lakeland Arts’ own collection including a monumental work by Joan Eardley.

Chelsea Eves, Abbot Hall curator points out the exhibition explores not only the ground-breaking artistic achievements of the Scottish Colourists, but for the first time addresses their influence on subsequent generations of Scottish artists and their lasting impact on modern British Art: “This has enabled us to present works from our own collection in a whole new light,” she said.

The colourists did not forget their Scottish roots especially in their brilliance at conveying the unique beauty of Scottish landscape, marking them out as French inspired artists with a singular Scottish identity.

Work by the Colourists has been at the heart of the Fleming Collection since its inception in 1968 with Hunter’s masterpiece Peonies in a Chinese Vase being one of its first purchases. This was followed by key works including Peploe’s Luxembourg Gardens and Cadell’s The Feathered Hat (pictured right).

We are thrilled to host our first collaborative exhibition with the Fleming Collection,” said Chelsea. “This is a fantastic opportunity to display masterpieces by the Colourists from the Fleming Collection’s exceptional array of Scottish Art, alongside Abbot Hall’s much-loved painting by SJ Peploe: Still Life with Oranges and Tulips (1926)”, she added.

James Knox, Director of the Fleming Collection points out that the Scottish Colourists were fearless in becoming truly modern artists determined as painters to crack the code of expressing the reality of contemporary life: “This exhibition reveals their concentrated brilliance reflected in their ability to produce challenging work of great beauty and light,” he said.

The exhibition is sponsored by Rathbones Kendal and Managing Director Richard Dawson is delighted that this vibrant final exhibition, before the Gallery closes for refurbishment, brings works from the Fleming Collection: “As long-time sponsors of Lakeland Arts, we’re delighted to support world-class arts and culture right on our doorstep – and we’d like to congratulate Abbot Hall on curating another remarkable exhibition in Kendal”, he said.

Abbot Hall will close for redevelopment in the summer of 2020 with a planned £9.6m project. The redevelopment will mean visitors can experience world class art in redesigned exhibition galleries as well as improved accessibility and landscaping.

For further information, opening hours and visitor information please visit: https://www.abbothall.org.uk/

Picture credits: Images above produced with kind permission of The Fleming Collection.

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