A Scottish Colourist at 150: John Duncan Fergusson

To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Scottish Colourist John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961) I have co-curated a touring display of his work and will be delivering a paper about his legacy for the Scottish Society for Art History.

John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961), Eástre (Hymn to the Sun), 1924 (cast 1991)  
Bronze, 42cm high, Private Collection, Courtesy of Culture Perth & Kinross Museums & Galleries
Photo: Alex Robson

John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)

Fergusson was born in Leith, near Edinburgh, in 1874. Along with F. C. B. Cadell, G. L. Hunter and S. J. Peploe, he is one of the four artists known as the ‘Scottish Colourists‘. They are Scotland’s most revered modern artists. With James McNaught and in partnership with The Fleming Collection, I have co-curated an exhibition of Fergusson’s paintings and sculptures. It covers half a century of creativity, from approximately 1902 to 1953. All the loans are from private collections, as well as three beautiful paintings lent from Flemings’ holdings. A Scottish Colourist at 150 opens in London on 19 February 2024 and thereafter tours to Glasgow.

John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961), Summer 1914 (Margaret Morris), 1934, oil on canvas, 88 x 114cm Collection & Courtesy Culture Perth & Kinross: Presented by the J. D. Fergusson Art Foundation in 1991

Beyond the Scottish Colourists: John Duncan Fergusson at 150

As part of the Scottish Society for Art History’s 2024 Study Days, on the theme of ‘Forty Years of Art and Art History in Scotland, 1984-2024‘, I shall be giving the paper ‘Beyond the Scottish Colourists: John Duncan Fergusson at 150’. The event takes place in Edinburgh on 1 and 2 March 2024 and has been organised in partnership with Art UK, the National Galleries of Scotland and Visual Arts Scotland. I will be examining past, present and projected developments in the positioning of Fergusson’s legacy, outwith his pigeonholing as a ‘Scottish Colourist’. This is a timely subject given the recent closure of The Fergusson Gallery in Perth and the current re-development of Perth Art Gallery. The latter will include a new gallery space dedicated to Fergusson’s work and that of his wife, the dance pioneer Margaret Morris (1891-1980).

For more about The Fergusson Gallery, please follow this link. Margaret Morris and The Fleming Collection feature in this article. The Scottish Colourists are the subject of this blog and a project I have done with Perth Art Gallery can be read about here.

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