Monday, August 6, 2012

OUR Artist of the Week:  Francis Cadell

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell was born in Edinburgh, where he lived for most of his life, and studied in Paris and Munich. He is best remembered for his stylish portrayals of New Town interiors and their elegant occupants, his vibrantly coloured, daringly simplified still lifes and for his landscapes of Iona and the South of France

Cadell’s small cast of characters are as engaging as his sumptuous empty rooms. These glamorous, soignée women in their stylish hats and gloves don’t give much away. Are these the ladies of the house or perhaps some wealthy man’s mistress? Are they about to head off to the races, a garden party or luncheon? Or are they waiting an assignation of a completely different kind?
Francis became a founding member of an exhibiting group, the Society of Eight which aimed to raise the profile and sell members’ work. His clients were mostly in the West of Scotland where the main dealers were, and where there was more money and a more daring outlook than in Edinburgh. The first public acquisition of a Cadell work was in 1926 when Glasgow’s Kelvingrove bought A Lady in Black which critic Clare Henry later described as “pure Hollywood”.

By the 1920s, he was painting some of his most memorable work. He was even commissioned to do posters for MacBrayne ferries. His use of fashionable colour combinations like orange and black were a real echo of the Jazz Age. His flamboyant dress sense (he had his tailor make his wartime uniform) and gregarious nature was much admired. He was a spendthrift, nonchalant and gay, in more ways than one. He always had a twinkle in his eye.

He died in 1937 in near poverty. An uncashed charity cheque was found in his personal effects. He was only 54.
Excerpts from Kennedy Wilson for Leihter Magazine


Paxton said...

I read somewhere he was influenced by Matisse and I can see that in the last pic on your post. His work is beautiful

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