Double Grey Fish Still Life signed and dated 82 (verso) oil on canvas 101.6 x 101.6 cm. (40 x 40 in.)
Provenance: with Gimpel Fils, London with Gimpel and Weltzenhoffer Gallery, New York, acquired from the above by Harold and Sandy Price, Laguna Beach, California property of Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado
This work is recorded in the William Scott Archive as No.1169.
Onions and eggs, plates and knives, a saucepan or a frying pan. The kitchen table. The ingredients of William Scotts paintings have belonged to the kitchen quarters since the late forties and early fifties. Gradually shifting from still-lifes of flowers to still-lifes of hunted game, William Scott entered the kitchen and discovered the forms and colours of the tables cooking ingredients and utensils. Although the choice of shape was limitless, William Scott quickly settled for a strongly simplified version of the cooking table. In his earlier works of the late forties, eggs, frying pan or mixing bowl lay flat on the top of an equally flattened table surface, in a vertical hierarchy of superimposed shapes. In these early works, Scotts open reference to the French school of still-life painting, from Jean-Simeon Chardin to Bernard Buffet, are obvious quotes for his inspiration. Gradually however, Scott departed from such influences and formulated a more personal style. His long-time fascination for simple geometry took on contemporary aesthetics in the ideal search of line, tone and dimension.
By the early 1980s, the art of William Scott was an established asset of the British contemporary art scene. Having exhibited throughout the U.K. and abroad, having represented Britain at the Venice Biennale of 1958 and at the Sao Paolo Bienal of 1961, and having lectured internationally, William Scott was, in his seventies, an active contributor to the theoretical, creative and educational developments of British painting. With Double Grey Fish Still Life, William Scott returned to the kitchen table with overwhelming simplicity of tone and form. While the figural is maintained to a minimum two dead fish - Scott has cleared the table top from any real cooking or eating business. He pushes even further his act of clearance by dissolving the markings of the table/tablecloth against the wall; the edges have been eliminated and the planes extend beyond the stretched canvas. In this way, the viewer becomes more aware of the visual space 'fabricating' the table and defining the objects on top, rather than concentrating on the eating ingredients themselves. Scotts interest in the design of pictorial space manifests itself through the interactive areas of losely geometric shapes. Colour and form are tightly controlled creating an image of extreme balance. The artists defining senses of form, colour and space are brought together in this canvas as an invitation to the viewer to search, find and ultimately invent his/her own terms of spatial organisation.