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JOAN EARDLEY edinburgh london 3 – 27 April 2013 1 – 17 MAY 2013

16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ Tel 0131 558 1200 Email mail@scottish-gallery.co.uk www.scottish-gallery.co.uk

8 Bennet Street, London SW1A 1RP Tel 020 7493 1888 Email art@portlandgallery.com www.portlandgallery.com

Cover: Children and Chalked Wall, c.1962 (detail), mixed media on paper, 36 x 56 cms Left: Flowers by the Wayside, c.1961 (detail), oil on canvas, 61 x 56 cms


Foreword

50 years have now passed since the death of Joan Eardley in August 1963. In one important sense her light, that burned so brightly, is still bright today; her work seems as urgent, honest and enthralling as when it was made. She would have been little concerned with her artistic legacy being a person entirely caught up with the drama and tribulation of the process of making art. It was the process that truly mattered; sometimes her drawings were given to the children who thronged through her Townhead studio, to be later used to light a fire in the paternal hearth, or discarded paintings on board used to lag the loft space of her Catterline cottage. But she was a passionate, driven painter who worked tirelessly, no doubt to the cost of her health; the next picture was the only one that mattered. These character traits were not at the cost of humanity; indeed her work could not have been made without a deep sympathy for her subject and the wider human condition. Family, friends, collectors and professionals within the art world would have helped keep her flame alive and ensure that many more can discover her genius. This exhibition, which complements a new publication by Christopher Andreae, celebrates Joan Eardley. There are works from Townhead to Catterline and from studies abroad in France and Italy. We are delighted to have London’s Portland Gallery as our partner in this exhibition. For the last thirty years The Portland has championed the work of 20th century and contemporary Scottish artists so is the natural venue for the London showing of this exhibition. Both The Scottish Gallery and Portland Gallery would particularly like to thank Christopher Andreae, Joan Eardley’s family and James Morrison. GUY PEPLOE Director, The Scottish Gallery

Joan Eardley painting in Catterline. Photograph by Audrey Walker 3


Shipbuilder’s Street, c.1951 oil on canvas, 94 x 34.25 cms


Introduction

Joan Eardley’s association with The Scottish Gallery began as long ago as 1955. The Gallery since then has exhibited her work in a procession of shows both during her lifetime and after, with only one pause of any duration – between 1996 and 2007. And now, fifty years after she died, this Gallery, in association with London’s Portland Gallery, has once again brought together a wonderful, representative selection of her work from private collections. All these works are for sale. This is no small achievement because many private Eardley owners display a firmly held reluctance, despite rising sales figures, to consider parting with their Eardleys. Her appeal persists. She can no longer be justifiably described as just a remarkable painter of her time (the late forties, the fifties and the early sixties). She is, lastingly, an irresistible, fresh and original artist by any standard, without any call for such qualifiers (even if they are not intentionally demeaning) as ‘Scottish’, ‘twentieth century’ and ‘woman artist’. This exhibition ranges across the wide scope of subject-matter in Eardley’s work – and it is significant that she never abandoned the necessity of ‘the subject’. She felt strongly that it was truth to her subjects that would ensure that her style of painting and drawing was entirely her own, a very direct encounter or entanglement with individual slum children, with profoundly sleeping babies, summer fields deep in wild grasses and flowers, with dangerously surging, rock-crashing waves, weighty, dark-clouded sunsets, burgeoning street life, tall red sandstone and soot-black tenements or a complexity of salmon nets drying on the shoreline. She was never outside her subjects looking in. She literally immersed herself for extended periods in places that fed her art. But her themes were not limited to the local. She painted the sea. She drew deprived children. The fact that these restlessly alive, acutely observed wonders in paint or pastel were achieved in Catterline or Glasgow never made her into a topographical artist. She expressed a horror of being thought ‘provincial’ and cannot be accused of being so. Her work touches, with a subtle, realistic balance of sensitive affection and ferocious energy, on something immediate and universal. Christopher Andreae

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During her Travelling Scholarship from 1948-49 Eardley was based in Florence in the friendly Pensione Morandi from where she made visits to Assisi, Padua, Forte dei Marmi and Venice. Our painting was exhibited in the show at the School of Art Museum when her drawings were warmly praised by Alice Sturrock for the Glasgow Herald and from where it was acquired. A large if not wholly successful painting of beggars outside the Cathedral was made after her return and Joan felt she had failed in Venice: the weight of who had been before and the historical and architectural profusions she perhaps found oppressive. In this drawing she has typically not chosen to draw the distinctive faรงade of the Cathedral, or the Square but instead focuses on a black-clad seated woman. 6


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St Mark’s Square, Venice, 1949 oil on board, 16.5 x 18.5 cms signed with initials lower right illustrated

Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p88 Included in her GSA exhibition were eleven drawings and paintings of Venice. 7


Balloch on Loch Lomond is a short journey from the family home in Bearsden and Joan visited with a post-diploma friend called Joan Tebbit with whom she also shared life drawing duties at the School as part of her post-dip year. She often went on similar trips with close friend, Margo Sandeman. Once again Van Gogh seems an influence as she determinedly avoids a picture post-card view of the pretty resort.

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2 Balloch, c.1947-8 oil on canvas, 24 x 33.5 cms signed lower left and signed & titled verso exhibited

Glasgow School of Art, 1949; Joan Eardley Memorial Exhibition, Scottish Arts Council, 1964, (Cat. 19) provenance

Private Collection, Glasgow 9


This energetic, heavily worked drawing belongs to a summer visit to Cologne du Gers, in the Gers Departement not far from the Pyrenees where Eardley worked with Dorothy Steel in 1951. The pantile roofs are typical of the vernacular building of the area. Emotionally and stylistically it surely owes much to Van Gogh, whose major touring exhibition Joan would have seen at Kelvingrove in 1948. It belongs with the drawings she made in France and Italy on her travels but has a new maturity and ambition which looks forward to her expressionist engagement with the landscape already begun in Catterline the year before.

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3 Red Roofs, Trees and Cow, 1951 mixed media on paper, 39 x 48 cms signed lower left provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 101) 11


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French Fisherman, 1951 pastel, 12 x 9 cms illustrated

Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p43 Exhibited Joan Eardley, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, March 1985 provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 299); Cyril Gerber Fine Art, Glasgow In 1951, Joan Eardley and Dorothy Steel spent several months in France, at Cologne du Gers. “The pace of life in the French village was slow, indeed, but ‘there are many nice things here and one can become absorbed into the slow pace of things very easily – the slow moving bullocks and the men who move as slowly, and walk like them I amble along like a bullock myself – and then I suddenly think of my tenements and my wee boys’.” Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p43 12


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Joan was introduced to Port Glasgow by Dorothy Steel, who had a studio there, in 1950 and she spent much time there drawing. A few years later she completed an ambitious picture, Children, Port Glasgow, exhibited at The Scottish Gallery in a group show for the International Festival; Six Young Scottish Painters in 1955 which makes a subject picture out of the same cast of kids more stylistically treated in Shipbuilder’s Street.

5 Shipbuilder’s Street, c.1951 oil on canvas, 94 x 34.25 cms signed lower right illustrated

Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p40 “The technique in which squarish slabs of pigment could be articulated and given form by forceful dark lines was developed in paintings like Shipbuilder’s Street (c.1951), a tall, narrow canvas of street kids playing against a background of shipbuilding activity. Patches of rust-red stabbed by brighter scarlet, yellow and cerulean blue stand for the children playing on the pavement, with a pale grey hull, high on the stocks behind them, against a dun-coloured sky.” Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p39 14


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6 Stonehaven Harbour, c.1952 Pen, ink and watercolour drawing, 46 x 54 cms exhibited

Joan Eardley Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, January 1981, (Cat. 25) provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 226); inscription on verso reads “the harbour is that at Stonehaven. The boat is the fishing boat ‘Acorn’ KY133 built in 1949 at Anstruther (completed in six weeks) and fished from that harbour and from Stonehaven by the owner Mr. Henry Gardner of 1 Rustic Place Anstruther. Mr. Gardner identified the harbour when shown the drawing 29/1/82 and his boat ‘Acorn’ – length 54.3ft / breadth 17.5ft / depth 6.9ft / weight 26.62 tonnes” 16


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Madeleine, c.1957 pastel on paper, 15.25 x 17.75 cms exhibited

Joan Eardley Memorial Exhibition, Scottish Arts Council, 1964, (Cat.54) “The child with pink-and-white complexion and fair hair, obviously professionally cut, must be a preliminary sketch for the only official portrait commission ever carried out… The Macaulay Children, painted for their father, William Macaulay of Aitken Dott’s Scottish Gallery which, by the time the painting was commissioned, in 1957, had become Joan Eardley’s regular shop window in Edinburgh.” Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p69 19


catterline

Our friendship with Joan began in 1958, when we went to live in Catterline. My wife Dorothy and I and Joan went to the village at about the same time. Joan had held an exhibition in the Gaumart Cinema in Aberdeen in 1950 and met Annette Stephen there. She owned ‘The Watch House’, a one storey building on a promontory to the north of the village, Joan visited regularly there until she bought a house on the south side of the village with dramatic views down to the harbour and the cliffs beyond. Although in recent years the village has become a mecca for many ‘artists’, when we were there this was not the case. Joan had Angus Neil to stay with her, from time to time and later Lil Neilson, but in no way could Catterline be called an artists’ colony. Our jovial conversations rarely touched on painting, but Joan took a lively interest in our family, our son and daughter were born during our stay in the village and I remember the first time Dorothy had John out in his pram. Joan stopped, duly admired the new village inhabitant and put two half crowns in his pram as a good luck token – a village custom at this time. Angus Neil, a very good painter, lived next door to us and asked us when John was three, if he could make a pastel portrait of him. He made an excellent start to the work, but Joan would not let him finish. She said he would overwork it and so we were given the fine but unfinished work. It hangs in my house to this day. Joan was a great artist, but I remember her as a soft-spoken kind lady, who loved the village and its people and who was loved in return. James Morrison 7.1.2013

Joan Eardley and Angus Neil, seated on bench. Photograph by Audrey Walker. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Archive, Edinburgh 20


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8 Nets, Waves and Rocks, c.1961 oil and collage on hardboard, 69 x 91 cms exhibited

Festival Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1964 (Cat. 14) provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 157) “I always identify Joan with the sea, and it is a valid identification. There is the gentle sunlit sea one delights in, in the summer. And even in bad weather it is still a summer sea. This was the Joan that I think everyone knew. This is the sea most people know. But there is the magnificent winter sea, in all its indomitable grandeur and the wild, turbulent and terrifying splendour. This was Joan too.” Audrey Walker, c.1964, Audrey Walker’s Tribute to Joan Eardley, Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p15 23


Todhead Point is at the south of the Braidon Bay, the next bay immediately to the south of Catterline Harbour. The lighthouse was built in 1897 and finally decommissioned in 2007. Eardley was capable of matching the energy of storm even on a modest scale: waves crash onto the rocks and a squall obliterates the sunset over the horizon.

9 Todhead Point, c.1957 oil on board, 18.5 x 32.5 cms signed and dated verso provenance

Gift from the artist to current owner 24


Joan painting under a washing line, Catterline. Photograph by Audrey Walker

“The place that I chose to paint in Glasgow is really just a little community – a little back street where everyone knows everyone and the same thing seems to be the case in the village where I live in the North-East. “I find that the more I know a place or the more I know a particular spot, the more I find to paint. I very often find that I take my paints to a certain place, begin to paint there, and perhaps by the end of the summer I have not moved from that place. In fact I have worn a kind of mark in the ground – there is no grass left. I just leave my paints there overnight and eventually a studio seems to have arrived outside. I might just turn round in the middle of a painting and see something else and run back and get another canvas and do that, but it is still the same spot really, the same feeling that I am trying to grasp.” Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p76 25


Joan painting in a field, Catterline. Photograph by Audrey Walker

Eardley painted a great variety of subjects at Catterline and a favourite was the cliff-top fields sometimes with a blasted hedgerow, beehives or the Watchie on the horizon. Sometimes also with seedheads pressed into the surface of the paint, or the paint surface deeply scored with palette knife or brush-end. Many of these works, expressionist in spirit, tachist in execution are also paeans to nature when the ill-health Joan was suffering lent a sharp, bittersweet poignancy to these highsummer works. 26


10 Flowers by the Wayside, c.1961 oil on canvas, 61 x 56 cms signed lower left and signed & titled on label verso “‘I’ve got a series of paintings going at the end of my old cottage.’ Joan wrote to Margot in 1962. ‘I never seem to find that I want to move. It’s a handy spot as no-one comes near and I can work away undisturbed. I just go on from one painting to another – just the grasses and the corn – it’s oats this year, barley it was last year. There’s a wee, windblown tree, and that’s all. But every day and every week it looks a bit different – the flowers come and the corn grows so it seems silly to shift about. I just leave my painting table out here and my easel and my palette.’” Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p76 27


Nets at Catterline with pulley at top left. Photograph by Audrey Walker. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Archive, Edinburgh

There were several other versions of this subject in the 1965 exhibition at Roland Browse and Delbanco, no. 3 illustrated in the catalogue as Fishing Nets Drying no. II. It was clearly a subject which appealed greatly, and this informs us about her concerns as an artist. She is not just the expressionist soul, wringing drama and emotion from her experience of the world, but a sensitive picture maker who likes to get close to a subject, to go in deep to try to reveal some beauty and order in the chaos apparent in the nature or the happenstance of the disposition of human detritus along the shore paths of Catterline. To choose such an unprepossessing subject and make great art from it speaks of the artist’s modernism as well as her genius. 28


11 Fishing Nets, 1963 oil on board, 48 x 51 cms signed and dated on verso illustrated

Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p155 provenance

Roland, Browse and Delbanco (bears fragmentary label) possibly Cat.26 in their Joan Eardley exhibition, May 1963; Private Collection; Messums Gallery, London 29


Catterline’s stone pier was finished by 1841. In 1884 when the industry was at its peak there were eight herring boats out of Catterline and curing was carried out on a small scale by the local innkeeper. At high tide with a blow the pier is less dominant visually and for this small, powerful picture, painted mostly with the knife, Eardley has walked around the cliff-top to the south of the cottages to look back into the bay. 30


12 Bay, Catterline, 1958 oil on panel, 15 x 30.5 cms exhibited

Festival Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1964, (Cat. 77); Joan Eardley Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, 1984 provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (EE 225) 31


This double-sided picture will belong to the autumn of 1962; the verso is another field flowers work which includes the roof and gable end of The Watchie at top left, by then her home and studio and today a studio retreat for artists. The haystack is monolithic, painted with little regard for picture-making but a commitment to the physical presence of the subject and her emotional response to it.

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13 Haystack, c.1962 oil on board, 58.5 x 55 cms signed lower left 33


“Had breakfast and am sitting on our seat. A perfect day so far. I think it may be very hot. No wind and the sea calm and very beautiful. I mustn’t sit here and write to you – much as I want to. There’s these old nets to be tackled! Awful thought because I’m frightened of them a bit – but I find on sunny days such as this that it is only possible to see them in the morning. So I must go.” Extract from a letter to Audrey Walker, Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p154 34


14 Fishing Nets I, 1963 oil on board, 105 x 110 cms exhibited

Joan Eardley, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London, May 1965, (Cat.1) provenance

Kodak Company, London 35


Townhead

“Traditionally, painting students went there for inspiration and subject matter – mainly for romantic reasons, because the flat landscape and its still, gleaming water, little wind up bridges and gas lamps felt unlike Glasgow. What Eardley discovered, however, and soon began to explore with typical singlemindedness in graphic terms, was not the romantic, atmospheric canal-scape, as such. It was that fringe of gaunt tenements and back-courts, the dark strength of their forms and the unexpected colour in their peeling masonry, the sense of movement and the liveliness in their surfaces as the window-glass darkly sucked in, or gleamingly rebuffed the daylight. Before long the inner life implicit in the lines of coloured washing appeared in the flesh. Insouciant, tattered urchins presented themselves, chattering, and the timid ones soon followed, for Joan Eardley attracted children like insects to a honeypot.” Cordelia Oliver, Joan Eardley and Glasgow, Scottish Art Review, Special Number. Vol XIV no. 3, 1974, p17

Joan Eardley took her first studio in Cochrane Street near the City Chambers in 1949, moving later to an old photographer’s studio at 204 St James’s Road in Townhead in 1952. Local industry included a concentration of printing works and the Sun Foundry on Kennedy Street. The population of Townhead was at its peak in 1951 (117 per acre). By the mid 1960’s, the majority of the buildings and people of Townhead were gone. Eardley’s powerful drawings and paintings of urban dereliction in Glasgow during this period are poignant depictions of the character of the place, indivisible from the character of its people. Her studio was top lit and kept warm with a large stove; the interior and structure of the building was held up with scaffolding. She kept a camera in her studio to capture the surrounding street life, and her fast moving child subjects; these photographs were used as reference points for sketches and finished paintings.

“What is particularly striking about these photographs, the studies and the final works is Townhead (Scots: Toun-heid) was an area of the sense of the protective, adult awareness of Glasgow which lay close to George Square and the children. The expressive faces and the direct the City Chambers going towards Glasgow stares of the children are remarkable in the Cathedral and the High Street. Being so close history of British art. There is no social message, to the city centre, the slums were hard to no emotive thrust… The children are symbolic avoid. In the 1960’s, Townhead was designated of a worldly streetwise mode of living… She saw a Comprehensive Development Area (CDA), the ruin and decay of objects as a witness to the which meant that it would be largely demolished passage of life.” to make way for modern tower blocks and a Joan Eardley 1921-1963, Scottish Masters 6 controversial inner city road system. Today, a by Fiona Pearson, 1988, The Trustees of the few surviving tenements are all that remain of National Galleries of Scotland Townhead.

Joan in her Townhead studio. Pink Jumper (p54) can be seen top right. Photograph by Audrey Walker 36


In this image, Eardley can be seen hanging her paintings at the Parson’s Gallery, London in 1954. The picture she is holding is The Man with the Book, 1953, (a portrait of Angus Neil) and to the right is A Glasgow Boy.

Joan Eardley’s depiction of the children who 15 A Glasgow Boy, c.1953 came in and out of her Townhead studio is oil on canvas, 45.75 x 30.5 cms controversial. To some tastes these paintings and signed lower right drawings are overly sentimental. Others strongly iilustrated refute this idea, which contains the accusation The same boy is painted as Andrew, Joan that the work lacks truth; in reality she was an Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream artist anthropologist, living within a community, Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, neither sentimentalizing nor disguising the p55 poverty, recording a world where the adults were exhibited inside or in the pub and the children were the Six Young Painters, Parson’s Gallery, London, street life as they cannot be today. The trousers 1954; Joan Eardley Exhibition, London Arts tied up with a cord is an observation not a motif Council, Hayward Gallery, 1988-89, (Cat. 59) just as the chalked walls and boarded up windows were the precursor to the slum clearance that provenance would follow. Jas. McClure, Glasgow; Ms Judith Paris; Private Collection, Toronto 38


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16 Tenement, c.1950 chalk on paper collage, 23 x 16.5 cms exhibited

Joan Eardley, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, March 1985 provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 400); Cyril Gerber Fine Art, Glasgow 40


Joan sketching on the street, Townhead. Photograph by Audrey Walker

Eardley’s powerful drawings and paintings of the urban dereliction of Glasgow in the 1950’s are poignant depictions of the character of place, indivisible from the character of its people. 41


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Children in Joan’s studio. Photograph by Audrey Walker

17 Boy in Overcoat, c.1956 pastel, 49 x 35 cms exhibited

Joan Eardley Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1984, (Cat. 13) provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 684) “They hardly notice me when they come in, they are full of what they have been doing. Who has gone to jail, who has broken into what shop, who flung a pie into whose face, and so it goes… they are letting out their life. “I try to think only in painterly terms – bits of red – all funny bits of colours. For me they are Glasgow. This sort of richness that I know that Glasgow has, that I hope it always will have.” BBC recorded interview 1963, Joan Eardley speaking in reference to the Samson family, 12 brothers and sisters that Joan got to know well and regularly drew and painted. 43


“Joan Eardley bent the whole idea of portraiture to her own highly original ends by drawing and painting extraordinary character studies of very ordinary children.” Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p130

18 Boy with the Apple Cheeks, c.1959 oil on board, 38.5 x 27.5 cms provenance

In the artist’s studio inventory this painting is titled Boy with Brown Hair and Grey Jacket (EE 347); Roland, Browse and Delbanco (bears fragmentary label); Lord Eccles; Fine Art Society, 1983 exhibited

Joan Eardley Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1984, (Cat. 1) 44


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Drawn, quite typically, on three overlapping sheets the subject of Old Fence is likely to be down by the canal at Maryhill. Eardley liked the medium of pastel for its immediacy. Varying pressure could make it the most forceful or delicate of mediums. 46


19 Old Fence, c.1950 pastel on paper, 9.5 x 22 cms exhibited

Christmas Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1966, (Cat. 20) provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 518) 47


Child portraiture has always engaged us from Velasquez’ Infanta to Manet, Bastien-Lepage, our own Glasgow Boys and Eardley herself. The child image contains the innocence we will all lose so carries a poignancy and relevance across the years. Head of a Boy is framed in a simple home-made frame. Joan Eardley learned joinery during the War and worked with local building firm who made landing craft (Joan was also tasked with painting the camouflage). Her basic joinery skills enabled her to knock together her own frames, although she wrote of her ambition to see her seascapes in handsome Italian mouldings. So much of her work displays a sense of immediacy often apparent in the necessity of what she works on; paper is seldom without a crease or crumple. Boards might have nail holes in the corners and at least once she used a canvas mail sack tacked over a simple stretcher for her support. Her medium is not experimental: oil and pastel, are the most permanent vehicles for pigment. 48


20 Head of a Boy, c.1955 oil on panel, 27 x 17 cms signed lower left 49


Young girl on street biting her finger. Photograph by Joan Eardley. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Archive, Edinburgh

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21 Girl in Striped Jumper, c.1959 coloured chalk on paper, 15.25 x 11.5 cms provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 613); The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh; Private Collection, Toronto 51


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22 Boy with a Fawn Jacket, c.1955-58 pastel, 19 x 21 cms signed lower left and signed & titled on label verso illustrated

Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p44 “Both she and [Chaim] Soutine painted children without flattery or prettiness yet with a kind of brutal but sympathetic integrity.� Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p43 53


23 Pink Jumper, c.1959 pastel, 27.5 x 22 cms illustrated

Front cover, Portrait of a Gallery, The Scottish Gallery, 2010 provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 851) 54


Glasgow girl. Photograph by Joan Eardley

This work has the humour and empathy of her best child paintings; it has a naturalism which flows from the deep affection and a realism not born of slavish accuracy but rather coming from an understanding of the essence of the child; feral, ragged but vitally alive. The free drawing, pentimenti, distortion and non-natural colour take risks, are intuitive but are a wholly successful route to the realisation of the image. Pink Jumper can be seen in Joan Eardley’s studio (see page 37) top right. 55


The Jumper, stiff with dust, is not a snug fit and the boy’s face is red-raw with cold or hot with emotion already passed; neither the eyes nor the ears are a match and the lips are parted: telling the strange artist lady some banality of a five year old’s life. These drawings are unique in British painting at once universal and a precise record of a tribe in a place now gone. 56


24 The Pale Blue Jersey, c.1960 pastel on glass paper, 26 x 23 cms exhibited

Festival Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1964 (Cat. 74) provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 5) 57


Three children seated in a doorway. Photograph by Joan Eardley

Eardley worked in pastel by preference on fine glass paper which took the pastel beautifully and lent a slight sparkle to the sheet. This bravura drawing, the subject almost certainly Anne Samson, has all the best attributes of Eardley’s drawing; strong, well-chosen colour and unhesitating mark-making; spontaneous drawing matching the vitality of the child subject. 58


25 The Striped Cardigan, 1962 pastel on glass paper, 26 x 24 cms signed and dated lower right exhibited

Festival Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1964 (Cat. 99) provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 30); Private Collection 59


“Photographs of babies were commonplace, and part of their appeal from the parents’ point of view was to see how different their sleeping babies were from other people’s sleeping babies. Joan’s were without doubt particular babies – yet she turns them into images of power rather than sentiment. As well as being nascent individuals, they are types of infants in ‘the land of nod’.” Joan Eardley by Christopher Andreae, Lund Humphries (London), 2013, p123 Sisters were often left in charge of a baby and in turn would leave him asleep in Joan’s studio; at least a sleeping child would be still for a while. 60


26 Sleeping Child, 1962 pastel on glass paper, 22 x 27 cms signed and dated on verso 61


Joan working in her studio. Photograph by Audrey Walker

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27 Child Study, c.1961 mixed media on paper, 22 x 20 cms signed lower right 63


Girl seated on wooden bench holding female toddler on lap. Photograph by Joan Eardley. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Archive, Edinburgh

28 Big Sister, c.1959 pastel on glass paper, 30.5 x 25.9 cms exhibited

20th Century Scottish Paintings & Drawings, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 1976; Joan Eardley Retrospective Exhibition, Talbot Rice Gallery, 1988, (Cat. 84) provenance

Artist’s Estate; The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh; Private Collection, Leicestershire; Duncan Miller Fine Art, London; Private Collection, Toronto “They usually come up to me and say ‘Will you paint me?’ In fact I am always having knocks on the door and this question. Some of them I don’t feel particularly interested in and so I just send them away, but the ones that I want to paint, I try to get to sit still, so mostly I just watch them moving about and do the best I can.” Joan Eardley 64


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Children playing in the street. Photograph by Joan Eardley

Joan’s studio was on the first floor and the perspective of The Pedlar’s Stand makes it seem likely to be a view down on the street as kids and mums gather around the mobile pedlar’s stand, perhaps selling clothes pegs or grinding knives. 66


29 The Pedlar’s Stand, c.1959 mixed media on paper, 16 x 11 cms exhibited

The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, June 1988 (Cat.34) provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 353) 67


This stunning painting is one of the artist’s most ambitious and successful works on paper. It is painted on good quality watercolour paper which has been laid onto mounting board so that a strip along the bottom, painted a warm blue and bearing the signature, adds visual relief to the richly worked subject. Two groups of children, those on the right much more defined, stand in front of a tenement window, emanating a blue light; there is a pause in a game, a skipping rope is slack between the groups. To the right by a dark window a simple graffito of a child skipping is chalked on the wall. The need to draw what was relevant and true in 1960s Glasgow was important for Joan, as it was for the cave painters of Lascaux in pre-history, where she visited in 1951. 68


30 Children and Chalked Wall, c.1962 mixed media on paper, 36 x 56 cms signed lower right “The character of Glasgow lies in its back streets which are for me pictorially exciting. There is no social or political impetus behind my paintings of that part of Glasgow, as is sometimes suggested. The back streets mean almost entirely screaming, playing children – all over the streets – and only in the shadows of the doorways groups of women, and at street corners groups of men, but always chiefly children and the noise of children.” Joan Eardley 69


Glasgow street with graffiti, door on left and boarded up window on right. Photograph by Audrey Walker. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Archive, Edinburgh

“In a late series of children seen against the graffiti-laden wall of the metal store below her studio in Townhead, Joan made free use of collage and stencilled words and newsprint. Graffiti, far from annoying her, offered a new means of enlivening her paintings of the street kids.� Joan Eardley, RSA by Cordelia Oliver, Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, 1988, p77 70


31 Glasgow Children Drawing with Chalk on a Pavement, c.1962 gouache on paper, 15.25 x 20.25 cms provenance

The artist’s studio inventory (ED 956); Cyril Gerber Fine Art, Glasgow; Private Collection, Toronto 71


SELECTED BIOGRAPHY

Born in Sussex in 1921 and moved with the family to London in 1926. 1938 Entered Goldsmith’s College of Art, London 1939 Moved with mother and grandmother to Bearsden, Glasgow 1940 Enrolled at Glasgow School of Art 1942 First stay at Corrie on Arran 1943 Diploma in Drawing and Painting, Glasgow School of Art Sir James Guthrie Prize for portraiture Enlisted as a boat-builder’s labourer until the end of the war 1946 Lived for a time in London Studied for 6 month’s under James Cowie at Hospitalfield, Arbroath 1947–8 Elected professional member of the Society of Scottish Artists Awarded post–Diploma from Glasgow with travelling scholarship Carnegie Bursary, RSA students’ exhibition 1948–9 Travelling in Italy and France 1949 Working in Cochrane Street studio, in Glasgow. Travelling scholarship work shown at Glasgow School of Art 1950 Painting in Port Glasgow 1951 Summer in France 1952 Moved to Townhead studio, Glasgow 1952 First work in Catterline where she later bought property 1955 Elected Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy First visit to Caverslee, near Selkirk 1956 Increasingly working at Catterline 1959 Visited and worked in Comrie, Perthshire 1960 Guest tutor at Hospitalfield 1962 First signs of serious illness 1963 Elected Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy 16th August died at Killearn Hospital SELECTED EXHIBITIONS 1949 Glasgow School of Art (Travelling Scholarship work) 1950 Solo Exhibition, Gaumont Gallery, Aberdeen 1952 Eight Young Contemporary British Painters, Arts Council (Scottish Committee) Touring exhibition. 1954 Six Young Painters, Parson’s Gallery, London (organised by Col. Robert Henriques and David Cleghorn Thomson) 1955 Aspects of Contemporary Scottish Painting, South London Art Gallery Edinburgh Festival Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery (with Brenda Mark, Robert Henderson Blyth, William Burns, David Donaldson and Robin Philipson) First solo London Show at St. George’s Gallery

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1958 1959 1960 1961 1963

Two–person show with William Gillies during the Edinburgh Festival, The Scottish Gallery Solo Exhibition, Edinburgh Festival, 57 Gallery, Edinburgh Contemporary British Landscape, Arts Council of Great Britain, Touring exhibition (into 1961) Solo Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh Solo Exhibition, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London 14 Scottish Painters, Commonwealth Institute, London Four Scottish Painters, Edinburgh Festival, The Arts Council Scottish Committee

SELECTED POSTHUMOUS EXHIBITIONS 1964 Joan Eardley RSA, 1921–1963, Scottish Arts Council Memorial Exhibition, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow then Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh and subsequent tour of shortened version 1964 Joan Eardley RSA, 1921–1963, Edinburgh Festival Memorial Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery (subsequent posthumous solo exhibitions of work by Joan Eardley have been held by The Scottish Gallery in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996 and 2007) 1965 Paintings by Joan Eardley, Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London 1975 Joan Eardley, a Scottish Arts Council Exhibition at the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow 1985 Joan Eardley RSA, 1921–1963, Cyril Gerber Fine Art, Glasgow 1988 Joan Eardley RSA, Retrospective Exhibition concurrently at the Talbot Rice Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy during the Edinburgh Festival. Subsequently shown at the Hayward Gallery, London 1992 Joan Eardley, Paintings, Pastels and Drawings, Mercury Gallery, London ( jointly with Ewan Mundy, Glasgow and The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 2007 Joan Eardley, The Scottish Gallery 2007–8 Joan Eardley, Retrospective Exhibition, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh 2013 Joan Eardley, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh and Portland Gallery, London FILM Joan Eardley was featured in a 22 minute colour film Three Scottish Painters produced by Templar film studios, Glasgow for the Scottish Committee of the Arts Council in conjunction with Films of Scotland, 1964 RADIO Street Kids and Stormy Skies Compiled and produced by Vivien Devlin. First broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland 18 August 1983, to commemorate 20th anniversary of Eardley’s death Joan Eardley Presented and produced by Vivien Devlin for broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland 29 March 1988. Review of 25th anniversary exhibitions planned for 1988

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JOAN EARDLEY by Christopher Andreae

Published by Lund Humphries, April 2013 Price: £40 Saturday 6th April 2013, The Scottish Gallery Talk by Christopher Andreae 11–12 noon: Spaces limited, please RSVP mail@scottish-gallery.co.uk Book signing between 12–2pm Tuesday 30th April 2013, Portland Gallery Talk by Christopher Andreae 6–8 pm: Spaces limited, please RSVP art@portlandgallery.com A book signing will follow the talk

In this new book about Joan Eardley published in the 50th anniversary of her death, Christpher Andreae provides a fresh assessment of her work and its relative Scottishness or universality. He relates her art to the work of contemporaries such as Josef Herman, to inspired teachers such as Hugh Adam Crawford, and considers the impact of Renaissance art, of 20th century European expressionism and modern American art. The author also looks at her relationships, quotes from letters previously embargoed, and discusses published and unpublished assessments of her work both during her life and after. The Author: Christopher Andreae has written about art since the 1960’s. He is the author of Mary Newcomb (1996 and 2007), A Word or Two (a collection of essays published in 2004), Mary Fedden: Enigmas and Variations (2007) and Winifred Nicholson (2009).

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Published by The Scottish Gallery and Portland Gallery to coincide with the exhibition joan eardley Edinburgh London 3 – 27 April 2013 1 – 17 May 2013 Exhibition can be viewed online at www.scottish-gallery.co.uk/joaneardley www.portlandgallery.com ISBN: 978-1-905146-76-5 Designed by www.kennethgray.co.uk Photography by William Van Esland Printed by Barr Printers All rights reserved. No part of this catalogue may be reproduced in any form by print, photocopy or by any other means, without the permission of the copyright holders and of the publishers.

Right: Portrait of Joan Eardley wearing woollen hat. Photograph by Audrey Walker. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Archive, Edinburgh

16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ Tel 0131 558 1200 Email mail@scottish-gallery.co.uk www.scottish-gallery.co.uk 76

8 Bennet Street, London SW1A 1RP Tel 020 7493 1888 Email art@portlandgallery.com www.portlandgallery.com


Scottish_Gallery_Joan_Eardley  

http://www.scottish-gallery.co.uk/images/exhibitions/Scottish_Gallery_Joan_Eardley.pdf