About this artwork

Alexander Moffat’s artistic output consists chiefly of portraits, which are often of his family and friends. As an influential teacher and writer on art, Moffat’s sitters have included many prominent Scottish figures, such as John Bellany, Alan Bold and Norman MacCaig. In this portrait of Ian Hamilton Finlay, Moffat has shown the sitter in a natural and relaxed pose, looking as if he is thinking or listening to a conversation. By the late 1960s, Moffat had abandoned his palette of earthy colours to use bright colours, influenced by Matisse. In this work, the soft, bright pastels combine with Moffat’s confident sense of linear form to make a striking portrait of Finlay.

Alexander (Sandy) Moffat

Alexander (Sandy) Moffat

Born in Dunfermline, Moffat studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1960 to 64. Alongside his friend John Bellany, Moffat emerged as one of the Scottish Realists, so-called because of their social awareness and rejection of the decorative principles that defined much Scottish art during the first half of the twentieth century. Moffat was particularly close to the poet Hugh MacDiarmid and his literary circle. From 1979 Moffat taught at Glasgow School of Art where he encouraged a new generation of Scottish figurative painters including Peter Howson, Ken Currie and Steven Campbell.