An iconic painting by the acclaimed Scottish artist John Bellany is to go on display this winter as part of Perth Museum and Art Gallery’s latest ICONS exhibition.
ICONS II: Bellany celebrates the life of one of the most prolific and acclaimed Scottish artists of this generation, John Bellany. The exhibition brings together works from the artist’s long career including The Kiss, The Bellany Family and Fishing Boat Poseidon in Harbour. At the centre of the exhibition will be one of the best-known works of Bellany’s career, The Boat Builders.
Whilst Bellany’s works have been exhibited across the world and purchased by collectors including Sean Connery and David Bowie, The Boat Builders has rarely been seen in public remaining, until 2018, in the ownership of John Bellany and, more lately, the Estate of John Bellany.
One of the most influential Scottish painters since the war.
The Scottish Maritime Museum will be loaning the painting to Perth Museum and Art Gallery after acquiring it in 2018 with support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), the Art Fund and the National Fund for Acquisitions as part of an ongoing programme to enhance its collection with artworks of national significance.
One of the most influential Scottish painters since the war, Bellany sailed against the tide of realism and abstraction from the start of his career in the 1960s.
Bellany was well known for documenting the lives of the fishing communities of the east coast of Scotland. Throughout his career, he addressed the complexities of the human condition such as guilt, sex and death. Working prolifically to re-establish a native, figurative art, he drew on his life growing up in a family of fishermen and boat builders in Port Seton, near Edinburgh, and the sea was a familiar subject of his work.
Bellany’s works have been exhibited across the world and purchased by collectors including Sean Connery and David Bowie.
Rhona Rodger, Senior Collections Officer at Perth Museum and Art Gallery said “This exhibition will be an exciting opportunity to view some of the earlier works by the internationally acclaimed Scottish artist, John Bellany, whose style is vivid, colourful and deeply representative of the community in which he grew up.
Arriving in four panels which have to be reconstructed in the gallery, The Boat Builders is monumental in scale and boldly demonstrates the heroic nature of the industry. ”
Matthew Bellhouse Moran, curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum said “We are delighted to loan this impressive and important work to Perth Museum and Art Gallery. Painted by Bellany while he was still a student and one of his earliest works in a public collection, his distinctive style is already clear in The Boat Builders. The work has rarely been displayed in the intervening 57 years, and the Scottish Maritime Museum sees this as a superb opportunity to share Scotland’s maritime heritage with a wider audience.”
The Boat Builders is monumental in scale and boldly demonstrates the heroic nature of the industry.
Bellany painted The Boat Builders in 1962 whilst attending Edinburgh College of Art, where he met his wife Helen, an established artist in her own right.
Standing over 3 metres by 5 metres, The Boat Builders captures the construction of a seine netter inscribed with the name ‘Good Hope’ and the words ‘BELLANY’ at the stern.
In 2020, Scotland celebrates its Coasts and Waters with a year-long programme of events and activities which will shine a spotlight on these vital elements of our landscape. ICONS II: Bellany features as part of Visit Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters.
ICONS II: Bellany opens Saturday 16th November at Perth Museum & Art Gallery. Entrance is free.
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