Waiting For The Train

by John Duncan Fergusson


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 3.5 x 4.5 inches (8.9 x 11.4 cm)
MEDIUM: Crayon paper



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    Catalogue No: 6721 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

    Duncan Fergusson is remembered as one of the great Scottish Colourists, whose combination of influences – particularly French Impressionist and Fauvist techniques affected during his time living in Paris – led him to produce an incredible array of works. 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.”

    Private collection, United Kingdom

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    Fergusson was born in Leith, Edinburgh, the first of four children. Although he briefly trained as a naval surgeon, Fergusson soon realised that his vocation was painting and he enrolled at the Trustees Academy, an Edinburgh-based art school. He rapidly became disenchanted with the rigid teaching style, however, and elected to teach himself to paint. To this end, he began to travel to Morocco, Spain and France, where he became acquainted with other artists of the day. Amongst them was Samuel Peploe, another of the group of artists who would later become identified as the Scottish Colourists.


    In 1898, Fergusson took his first trip to Paris to study at the Louvre. He was highly influenced by the impressionist paintings and later he would also be influenced by Fauvism and the fauvist principles of using colour would become a strong feature of his art.

    Fergusson became part of the enormous growth in artistic talent that Paris was home to at the beginning of the twentieth century. There he mingled with artists like Matisse and Picasso in the café society for which the city was renowned.

    By the outbreak of World War I, Fergusson was considered to be at the forefront of modern British painting.

    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.

    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. In 1943 he published his book on “Modern Scottish Painting”. On his death, his widow, Margaret Morris, presented fourteen of his paintings to the University of Stirling when it was founded in 1968. His work remains popular, and in 1992 a permanent gallery, The Fergusson Gallery, was founded in Perth to house it.

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