Scottish Art: People, Places, Ideas

City Art Centre showcases its impressive collection of works by major Scottish Artists

Scottish Art: People, Places, Ideas

Samuel John Peploe, Still Life with Melon and Grapes / Courtesy of City Art Centre

The art collection held by the City Art Centre is one of Edinburgh’s better-kept secrets. As well as hosting exhibitions by visiting artists, the council-run building has, in recent years, been looking for ways to showcase its enviable treasure trove of Scottish art covering 400 years.

This summer’s show, which displays work in four classic genre categories (portraiture, landscape, still life and abstraction) might seem like a predictable way of doing things. But with the finest of ingredients, who needs a fancy recipe? There is nothing dull about the portraits of Ramsay and Raeburn, Joan Eardley’s Glasgow street kids, or landscapes by Nasmyth or the Glasgow Boys.

Nor is there anything predictable about the Scottish artists of the 20th century who have taken those genres in new directions, from William Gillies to Victoria Crowe, the abstracts of American-born Jon Schueler who settled on the Sound of Sleat, or Elizabeth Blackadder’s Japanese-influenced still lifes. If they sound like crowd-pleasers, that might be because they are popular, and rightly so. But there is nothing to lose and everything to be gained from seeing some of the masterworks of Scottish art being taken out of the vaults and allowed to shine for audiences old and new.

City Art Centre, Edinburgh, until Sun 27 Sep.

Scottish Art: People, Places, Ideas

A selection of Scottish art from the centre's collection, drawn from 250 years of art and organised by four categories: people, landscapes, still life, abstraction.


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