Head of Scottish Pictures
Scottish Art / Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell RSA RSW (British, 1883-1937) Still Life with Ranunculus 44 x 37.5 cm. (17 5/16 x 14 3/4 in.)
Sale; Sotheby's, Glasgow, 9 February 1988, lot 291
With David Messum, London
Private Collection, Australia
Médecins Sans Frontières, Australia
The proceeds of sale of this work will support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières, a global organisation who offers assistance to populations in distress, victims of natural or man-made disasters and armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation.
Cadell is often said to be the most elegant of the Colourists and Still Life with Ranunculus is a stylish image which epitomises this. During the immediate pre-war period, Cadell established himself as an artist of note and a figure of standing within Edinburgh society. He developed a palette based on white, creams and black, which may have been influenced by the work of Éduoard Manet. The appreciation of this colour scheme was also reflected in the carefully constructed environment of his studio at 130 George Street in Edinburgh. A black polished floor enhanced the rich effect of pure colour emerging from the pale white and mauve colour scheme.
Although loosely painted, the overall composition is carefully considered. Here he dramatically crops his painting, boldly chopping the top section of the mirror out of the frame, to create a highly modernist aesthetic, which echoes the techniques of artists such as Van Gough and Matisse. The overall effect of this daringly simplified still life is one of sophistication and elegance.