James Nairn, 'Auchenhew, Arran', 1886 Oil on canvas, 610 x 91.5 cm. Private collection. Courtesy of The Fine Art Society


30 October 2010 to 23 January 2011 – The Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts  present the first exhibition in London for over 40 years to celebrate the achievement of the Glasgow Boys, the loosely knit group of young painters who created a stir at home and abroad in the final decades of the nineteenth century.
The exhibition will feature over 80 oil paintings, watercolours and pastels from public and private collections by such artists as Guthrie, Lavery, Melville, Crawhall, Walton, Henry and Hornel. Together they presented a new art, which had a major impact at home and abroad in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. The resultant works were, from c. 1880 to 1900, among the most experimental and ambitious to be produced in the UK.

Taking inspiration from such French Naturalist painters as Bastien-Lepage and also from Whistler, the Glasgow Boys produced some of the most revolutionary painting in Britain, drawing praise in London, Munich, Vienna and further afield. Their symbolist pictures were admired and emulated in secessionist circles in Germany and Austria.

The exhibition maps the Glasgow Boys’ responses in both subject matter and technique to developments in art which were taking place in Paris in the 1870s and 1880s. These artists sought to liberate their art from the staid, dark toned narrative paintings being produced in Glasgow and Edinburgh in order to explore the effects of realist subject matter and the particular effects of light captured through working out of doors, directly in front of the motif.

Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880 – 1900 is an exhibition from Glasgow Museums in association with the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition has been curated by Jean Walsh, Senior Curator, and Hugh Stevenson, Curator of British Art, Glasgow Museums with consultant curators Roger Billcliffe and Patrick Bourne, together with MaryAnne Stevens, Director of Academic Affairs at the Royal Academy of Arts.

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