Francis Cadell

Francis Cadell

Born in Edinburgh, Cadell studied art in Paris and the Royal Scottish Academy. An education could have wrecked an otherwise promising career when the Scottish President tried to stop him painting with his left hand because ' No artist ever became great who did so.' 'Sir and did not the great Michelangelo paint with his left hand?' replied Cadell swiftly, and as his opponent walked off discomfited, Cadell admitted that whilst he himself had no idea with what hand Michelangelo painted, there again, neither did the President. This spontaneity and lightness of touch was to find its consumation in Cadell's paintings. A member of the so-called 'Scottish Colourists', a loose-knit group composed of the artists S.J. Peploe (1871-1935), and J.D. Fergusson (1874-1961), the group's paintings were noted for their freedom of handling, and richness of colour, their inspiration coming both from the post impressionists and the bold brushstrokes and colouring of the Glasgow painters at the turn of the century. Cadell was the quickest painter of the group and a master sketcher, capturing with a keen and sure eye, the beauties of the landscape. A superlative colourist, he found his chief inspiration in the Scottish islands, particularly Iona, where he invariably spent the summer: 'It was in Iona that Cadell lived his fuller life as an artist.' Wrote T.J. Honeyman, 'And it is to his work there that the Scottish colour tradition label may be most fittingly applied.' (Three Scottish Colourists T. J. Honeyman, London, 1950)

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