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Summer, Selkirk
© William Johnstone

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Summer, Selkirk About 1927 / About 1938 / About 1951 (Dated 1927)

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Johnstone’s work of the late 1920s was unique in Scottish art in its combination of Surrealism and abstraction. This painting was begun around 1927 and was later reworked, like many of the artist’s early paintings. The underlying curvilinear structure remains from the original version but the drawn lines were added at a later date. Despite the title of the painting, it does not depict Selkirk but only indicates where the work was completed. Johnstone preferred not to paint from nature but rather to combine his experience of nature with his knowledge of art history to ‘produce landscapes of greater intensity and depth. I used my native landscape as a basis of a free development of movement and direction.’

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.


Consisting of or bound by curved lines


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Abstract art, Curvilinear, Surrealism


  • Acc. No. GMA 1100
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 101.60 x 101.60 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1969