"Will Maclean is one of the outstanding artists of his generation in Scotland... his art is rooted in his knowledge of the highlands, the Highland people and their history and in his own early associations with sailors and the sea. This makes it relevant and immediately accessible, yet it remains uncompromisingly modern in its forms and concerns."
- Duncan Macmillan
Born in Inverness in 1941, Will Maclean studied at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen and spent a year at the British School at Rome under a Gray's Travelling Scholarship. Maclean has had a lifelong link with the sea and maritime culture, becoming a midshipman in 1957 prior to attending art college, and later as a ring-net fisherman.
In 1981 he took up a lecturing post at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, and is now Emeritus Professor of Fine Art. He was elected to the RSA in 1991, and in 1999 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of St Andrews.
His work is in public collections including the Arts Council; The British Museum; Dundee and Glasgow City Art Galleries; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; the Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture; the McMaster Museum, Canada; and Yale Centre for British Art, Newhaven, USA.