Published: October 10, 2000
Philadelphia’s John Alexander Gallery and Edinburgh’s Bourne Fine Art Collaborate
Philadelphia, Pa. – ” furniture and decorative arts and paintings by members of the Glasgow School will be on view at the John Alexander Gallery through November 4. This exhibition is the first collaboration between John Alexander, Ltd., an American British Arts and Crafts gallery, and Bourne Fine Art of Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Glasgow was the ‘Second City’ of the British Empire and one of the richest cities in the world at the end of the Nineteenth Century. [Its] industrial and commercial renaissance occurred in tandem with a creative renewal that produced distinctive avant-garde styles of art and design,” said John Levitties of John Alexander Ltd. and Patrick Bourne. “This exhibition focuses on Glasgow as a creative center for the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain throughout the 1890s and into the first decade of the Twentieth Century, and on the golden age of Scottish painting, which lasted from the 1880’s until the 1930’s.”
In the 1880’s, a group of young Scottish painters came together to challenge the pre-eminence of Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Academy. Inspired by the new ideas of social realism expressed in the paintings of French artist Jules Bastien-Lepage, they were also strongly influenced by James McNeill Whistler’s use of tone, sense of design, and commitment to artistic freedom.
The members of the Glasgow School earned an international reputation unrivaled by their English contemporaries. Artists featured in this exhibition include Stuart Park, one of the famous “Glasgow Boys”; William Wells; John -over- MacLauchlin Milne; and David Young Cameron, who revived the art of etching while creating masterful images of the Scottish landscape. The impact of the Glasgow painters on the development of the decorative arts was considerable, though more in the favorable atmosphere than in the creation of imagery.
As the Glasgow School challenged established academic painting, Glasgow decorative artists went beyond the utilitarian and rational principles of English Arts and Crafts design. Scottish design favored idiosyncratic abstraction, while synthesizing inspirations from both the past and the present. This revolutionary style captured the public imagination at the Glasgow Exhibition of 1901, when renowned retailing firm Wylie and Lochhead presented a pavilion with rooms by John Ednie, E.A. Taylor and George Logan and decorative art by Ann Macbeth and Jessie King. Their efforts brought the international attention and public acclaim, and ensured Glasgow’s enduring influence on art and design.
Works by each of these designers will appear in this exhibition, along with pieces by George Walton, Mary and Margaret Gilmore, and Peter Wiley-Davidson, among others.
Bourne Fine Art was founded in 1978 and offers Scottish art ranging from Seventeenth Century portraiture to the work of contemporary artists. John Alexander Ltd. has offered British Arts and Crafts furniture, lighting, and decorative arts since 1995. The John Alexander Gallery has been open since 1999, and is at 10-12 West Gravers Lane. For information, 215/242-0741.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm