Sir William Gillies RA RSW PRSW 1898-1973
The early sixties were a fraught time for Gillies, balancing his own painting career with his position as Principal of the Edinburgh College of Art his sister dying in 1960 and then his mother in 1963. However, after his retirement in 1966, his painting took on a new lease of life.
In 1965, an exhibition of Giorgio Morandi was held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. His work was of great influence to Gillies, as it was to a number of artists in Scotland at that time. Another painter who Gillies admired was Massimo Campigli (1895-1971) whose fresco like handling Gillies emulates in the chalk-like application of paint, or as T. Elder Dickson put it, 'quaint Etrusan colour with almost miserly discretion lest he should defile the delicate image he is attempting to project'.
Gillies had always been enthusiastic about still life from college days and as his painting career progressed he strove towards a greater abstraction, 'In still life I felt able to go into almost pure abstraction; in landscape there is a limit beyond which content vanishes completely.'
Modern18 Feb - 27 Mar 2021 Edinburgh20th century Scottish works of art, including Barbara Balmer, Robert Henderson Blyth, John Boyd, John Byrne, FCB Cadell, Ian Fleming, William Gillies, Jack Knox, William McCance, and John McLean.
Hang 4 //Modern Scottish Pictures 1 - 19 Sep 2020 EdinburghCelebrating the variety of 20th century Scottish Art, this selection of works captures modern perspectives of Scottish identity. In the face of global societal and technological change, the artists’ focus...
Hang 3 //Scottish Painting 1950-1980 19 Mar - 25 Apr 2020 EdinburghThe decades following WW2 saw artists take new forms of artistic expression. The order and rationalism that had preceded was rejected. Painting became more gestural and instinctive; this was achieved...
Modern Paintings 1940-198524 Nov - 23 Dec 2017Modern Scottish Paintings 1940-1985, was exhibition of works created by Scottish artists in a period that emphasised individualism and rebellion against perceived safety and mundanity in the art that preceded...