The Scottish Colourist Series: FCB Cadell

  • 22nd October 2011 − 18th March 2012 | Modern Two (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art)

A Gift of Colour and Light

Cadell believed that no-one with any real sense of colour could paint in Scotland during the winter. From about 1919 he preferred to work on Iona during the summer, usually outside, and in Edinburgh during the spring and early autumn, usually indoors.

Cadell took great pains over the decoration and furnishing of his quarters; before the war and throughout the 1920s, most of the paintings that he made at home centred on depictions of his studios or arrangements of elegant female models or still life objects within them. The works of the immediate pre-war period conjure up a sense of the refined lifestyle of Edinburgh’s upper-class, depicted with a palette which brightened as the war approached.

Following his demobilisation in 1919, Cadell moved to Ainslie Place, Edinburgh. His work underwent an abrupt and dramatic change, thought to have been inspired by his new surroundings, by close collaboration with Peploe and interest in the Art Deco movement. Tightly-cropped compositions, usually approached at an angle, the flat application of paint and the use of increasingly brilliant colour resulted in interiors, still lifes and figure studies which count amongst the most remarkable paintings in British art of the period.

Next: Cadell and Iona