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John Duncan Fergusson
Self-portrait by John Duncan Fergusson, c. 1902, oil on canvas, 50.80 x 56.40 cm, The Fergusson Gallery, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
Born 9 March 1874(1874-03-09)
Leith, Scotland
Died 30 January 1961 (aged 86)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Field painting
Movement Scottish Colourists

John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961) was a Scottish artist, regarded as one of the major artists of the Scottish Colourists school of painting.

Fergusson was born on 9 March 1874 at 7 Crown Street in Leith, Edinburgh.[1] He was the first of four children and attended the Royal High School.[1] Although he briefly trained as a Naval Surgeon, Fergusson soon realised that his vocation was painting and he spent some time travelling in Spain, Morocco and France to develop his artistic knowledge and experience.

While studying at the Louvre in Paris, Fergusson was impressed by the impressionist paintings at the Salle Caillebotte and these were an important influence on his developing style. Later he would also be influenced by Fauvism and the fauvist principles of using colour would become a strong feature of his art. Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac wrote in his foreword to Fergusson's memorial exhibition of 1961: "His art is a deep and pure expression of his immense love of life. Endowed with a rare plastic feeling, almost sculptural in its quality. He joined with it an exceptional sense of colour, outspoken, ringing colours, rich and splendid in their very substance."

At the beginning of the twentieth century Paris was seeing an explosion of artistic talent and Fergusson was very much a part of this. In the café society of Paris, Fergusson rubbed shoulders with artists such as Matisse and Picasso.

By the outbreak of World War I, Fergusson was considered to be at the forefront of modern British painting. During the war years, however, he achieved little artistically and it was only towards the end of the war that he regained the momentum in his work.

In the 1920s Fergusson was settled in a studio in London. His first solo exhibition was in 1923 and he was also involved in several important group exhibitions. In 1928 he and his partner, the dancer Margaret Morris, moved to Paris where they lived until the spectre of war once again loomed over Europe, prompting the couple to move to Glasgow in 1939 where they were to remain for the rest of their lives.

People and Sails at Royan, 1910.

In 1940 Fergusson founded the New Art Club, out of which emerged the New Scottish Group of painters of which he was the first president. On his death, his widow, Margaret Morris, presented fourteen of his paintings to the University of Stirling when it was founded in 1968.[1]

External links

  1. ^ a b c Peploe, Guy. "Fergusson at Stirling". University of Stirling. Retrieved 2008-06-26.  


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