Anne Redpath and the Edinburgh School

  • 27 July 2006

This article is from 2006.

Heralded as one of the finest Scottish painters of the 20th century, Anne Redpath, her life and work, are long overdue a revisitation. Exhibiting personal belongings and ephemera from her studio alongside her sensuous still lifes and landscapes, the show offers a biographical reading of her work. This might be something of a challenge given Redpath’s predilection for contradiction and idiosyncracy: The daughter of a stern tweed designer, as well as a woman known for her vivid palette Redpath was a fervent protestant enamoured with the Catholic iconography, an avid traveller who maintained her strong patriotism. And, despite her passion for her work, this highly prolific artist even gave up the brush for 15 years.

Reflecting these eccentricities as well as more subtle nuances of a gradually perfected style, paintings by Redpath are flanked by canvases of contemporaries from the Edinburgh School - William Crozier, William McTaggert and William Gillies. The four were part of a larger group of artists who all attended Edinburgh College of Art at the time of the First World War, influencing one another in a shared vibrant style of non-naturalistic space and colour. Redpath was significant in the group for developing bold and luxurious textures - her abstracted impasto carries the confidence of Mattisse, but with a light suffused style of Bonnard. Displaying ‘Windows in Menton’, the exhibition has been fortunate to acquire one of Redpath’s personal favourites, which she only sold reluctantly. Portraying the back of a seated enigmatic female figure gazing out from a balcony vista, ‘Widows in Menton’ opens up onto a landscape that shows us warm gusts of colour and an artist’s view of the world dappled in light. (Isla Leaver-Yap)

City Art Centre, until Sun 22 Oct

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