The Scottish Colourist Series: FCB Cadell

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


Cadell’s still lifes of the early to mid-1920s are remarkable. He suppressed perspective and shadow and rendered objects such as roses and bowls in blocks of barely modulated colour.

In 1923 and 1924 Cadell painted in Cassis, on the French Mediterranean coast. The works he made there are bold in composition and palette, conveying the harsh Mediterranean light and its effects on his surroundings.

Cadell developed a late style in which black remained dominant and was increasingly used to outline features, whilst his technique became less structured and his colours more sober. He was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) in 1935 and was made an Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) in 1936.

However, despite outward success, Cadell’s financial position deteriorated during this period, in step with the decline of the art market as economic recession took hold – a situation exacerbated by his lavish lifestyle. Despite the efforts of loyal patrons, between 1928 and 1935 Cadell was forced to move home three times. His last years were dogged by ill-health and he died in Edinburgh in 1937.