Friday, 18 July 2008

John Duncan "JD" Fergusson (1874-1961)

"Everyone in Scotland should refuse to have anything to do with black or dirty and dingy colours, and insist on clean colours in everything. I remember when I was young any colour was considered a sign of vulgarity. Greys and blacks were the only colours for people of taste and refinement. Good pictures had to be black, grey, brown or drab. Well! let's forget it, and insist on things in Scotland being of colour that makes for and associates itself with light, hopefulness, health and happiness."

-- J. D. Fergusson, Modern Scottish Painting, William MacLellan, Glasgow 1943.

"Le Voile Persan" Oil on canvas, 1919.

It has been said that the contribution of J.D. Fergusson to Scottish art in the 20th Century is almost unparalleled. There were only a few artists acknowledged to be part of the explosion of talent which was seen in Paris in the first decade of this century, and J D Fergusson was one of these. J D Fergusson was born and brought up in Leith, Edinburgh, where Art from Scotland is based, but much of his work was executed in France. He was drawn to the cafe society of Paris and rubbed shoulders with the young Matisse and Picasso. He was also a friend of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and it is believed that Fergusson encouraged Mackintosh to paint.

Fergusson met Anne Estelle Rice (1879 - 1959) in 1906 with whom he shared a close relationship until 1914. Anne Estelle Rice was an artist of Irish American stock from Philadelphia. Fergusson painted a portrait of her in oriental dress placed against a flowered backcloth of roses. The simplicity of the costume and pose permitted an emphasis on colour outlined in blue or red. The decorative background reflects the sitter rather than detracting from her, a Fauvist principle. Fergusson spent many summers at the resort of Paris-Plage where the quality of clear light on land and water increased the tonality of his work. Colour was used to heighten atmosphere. Fergusson became a Societaire of the Salon d'Automne. (via)


"Bathers with mirror"

"Christmas in the South of France" 1922.

Over 150 of his works at SCRAN (thumbnail only)
Timeline at Art from Scotland
The J.D. Fergusson collection at Stirling University, Scotland
Biography and overview of the Scottish Colourists at Explore Art
A handful of works at the Portland Gallery
The Fergusson Gallery, Perth, Scotland
The JD Fergusson Art Award

"Spring in Glasgow" 1941.

"On Juan Plage"

"The Pink Box" 1929.

"Nude and Cliff"

"Portrait of Anne Estelle Rice" 1910.

"View over Kiliecrankie" 1922.


"Bathers, Cap d'Antibes" 1929.

"Deux rives, Dinard" 1930.

"Bathing huts, St. Palais"

"Fete, Cassis" 1913.

"In the Dauphine" 1935.

"Cafe concert - Des Ambassadeurs" 1907.

"Fleurs et Fruits" 1910.

"In Radcliffe Road"

"First study for Rhythm" 1911.

"Margaret Morris" 1916.

"Margaret Morris" 1916.

"Head Studies"


"Profile of Meg Morris" 1918.

"La Parisienne"

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