This explores the relatively modern art scene during the first decades of the last century. The mood and atmosphere of the work reflects each changing decade, and the artworks have been specially selected to represent the mood of each period.
The exhibition fills all of Modern Two in six rooms with Matisse and André Derain beginning the journey in 1900. Their brightly coloured landscape paintings were so radically different that the artists were given the derogatory label ‘Fauves’ – meaning ‘wild beasts’. The term stuck and Fauvism had a major impact on British and particularly Scottish art.
Two new acquisitions, by Scottish Colourists FCB Cadell and JD Fergusson, feature in this room. JD Fergusson, who was born in Leith but lived in Paris before the First World War, was one of the key Scottish artists of the twentieth century.
Painted in 1911, Flowers and Pink Box, has bright bold colour and confident, energetic brushwork. Fergusson’s work of this time often had sexual overtones and covert erotic references. In this painting, the pink box depicted is believed to have been used to store his condoms.
This is the first still life by Fergusson to enter the national collection. The Rose and the Lacquer Screen, by FCB Cadell, combines several of his favourite still-life props: a rose in a transparent vase, a black fan and its trailing ribbon and a detail of the lacquered screen that dominated the drawing room of his house in Edinburgh’s New Town.
Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, Sir John Leighton, said: “National Galleries of Scotland is delighted to reopen Modern Two with an exhibition that celebrates the strength of the national collection.
“Featuring a fascinating range of works by many of Scotland and the world’s greatest artists, Decades: The Art of Change 1900-1980 encourages visitors to think about how art can both reflect and change the way we see the world around us. We welcome you to join us on a voyage of discovery through 80 years of bold artistic achievement.”
Simon Groom, Director of Modern & Contemporary Art, said: “Decades is an amazing opportunity to discover the rich range and depth of art from the national collection in the 20th century.
“Arranged by decades – starting with the beautiful paintings of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and the Scottish Colourists, the show takes us on fascinating journey to see how artists as diverse as Francis Bacon, Joan Eardley, Eduardo Paolozzi, Yayoi Kusama, Bridget Riley, David Hockney, and Joseph Beuys reflected and gave shape to our experience of the 20th century.”
Artist Joan Eardley working with some of the children she painted and some of her other work. https://www.nationalgalleries.org/visit/scottish-national-gallery-modern-art