Jerwood Foundation

Anne Redpath ARA RSA (1895-1965)

Mainly Grey and White, circa 1957

  • Details

    Courtesy of the Artist's Family and the Royal Scottish Academy, 2014, All Rights Reserved Bridgeman Art Library

  • Medium

    oil on board

  • Dimensions

    30 ½ x 38 ½ in (77.5 x 97.8 cm)

  • Provenance

    Phillips, London 1995 where purchased

  • Literature

    Collection Catalogue, Jerwood Collection, London 2012 p.34. Illustrated p.18.

  • On Display

    Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (Room 2)

Anne Redpath was one of the Edinburgh School of Artists, celebrated for their vivid use of colour and dynamic brushwork, typically focusing on still life, sea and landscape themes. Redpath’s father was a Scottish tweed designer, and his influence can be seen in her work. She commented, ‘I do with a spot of red or yellow in a harmony of grey, what my father did in his tweed’. Her experimentation with cool tones punctuated by bright colour was also inspired by a visit to Florence as a student. Her simple room at a pensione on the Lugarno had a brightly coloured rug hanging on the whitewashed wall. She recalled, ‘the lovely bit of colour…had far more intensity because it was against white’.

Mainly Grey & White was painted at Redpath’s flat at 7 London Street in Edinburgh, the artist’s home from 1952. The still life subject has a customary flattened perspective. The objects in this painting are depicted in subtle tones, highlighted with vivid spots of yellow and green in the flower arrangement and fruit bowl. Redpath created a textured, chalky paint surface by degreasing her paints, draining them of poppy oil on blotting paper before applying them to canvas. The artist rarely varnished her work, preferring a ‘raw’ paint surface.

Born in Galashiels, Redpath studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1913-19). In 1919 she was awarded a travelling scholarship and visited Brussels, Bruges, Paris, Florence and Siena. The following year she married the architect, James Beattie Michie, and they settled in France for the next fourteen years, during which time, Redpath did relatively little painting. On her return to Scotland in 1934, she settled in Hawick. Redpath was elected President of the Scottish Society of Women Artists (1944-47) and in 1952 she became the first female Academician at the Royal Scottish Academy. She was appointed OBE in 1955. Her first solo show was held in Edinburgh in 1947. A memorial exhibition was organised by the Arts Council in 1965 and a major retrospective was held at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (1996-97).