Monday, May 16, 2011

Sir James Guthrie, Glasgow Boy

Sir James Guthrie (1859-1930) was one of the Glasgow Boys, a group of late-19th century Scottish painters influenced by French realist Jules Bastien-Lepage.

Like some other artists of middle-class origin in those days, his family sent him to university with the idea that he would practice law. And like the others he abandoned that line of education to take up art, though his art training came largely by self-education.

Regardless of how he mastered his skills, Guthrie became one of the most prominent Scottish artists of his time. By 1902 he was president of the Royal Scottish Academy and in 1903 was knighted.

The best place to find Guthrie's painting is Glasgow, of all places. Unfortunately for me, the last time I was in Glasgow I hadn't yet launched into serious study of art history and skated through Kelvingrove faster than I really should have.


A Funeral in the Highlands - 1881-82

To Pastures New - 1882-83

Schoolmates - 1884-85

Old Willie, A Village Worthy - 1886

Summer House, St. Mary Isle - 1886

Maggie Hamilton - 1892-93


The North Briton said...

I don't much like Guthrie until his later work, find his early work a bit too protestant. I've seen these paintings though and I must say 'Old Willie...' is an incredible bit of portraiture.

I was blown away by some of the middle period Glasgow Boys stuff, when they got a bit society and started painting the North's elite instead of its poor. There's a portrait of the daughter Gateshead's Sowerby Glass dude which is great, but can't remember who its by, might be Guthrie actually. And a portrait of Joseph Crawhall III which is great too.

Crawhall III is my favourite out of the lot of them actually, but then I may be biased in that I am a massive fan of his father, Crawhall II, who was an amazing and much underrated book artist and woodcutter. I run a little (but expanding) website of his work if you are interested:

Donald Pittenger said...

North Briton -- I'll post from time to time on other Boys and will take a look at your link.

One Boy I'll probably cover was that runaway who went south to paint nabobs, Sir John Lavery. Hope you won't mind.

artofandrewdaniel said...

I have long been a fan of Bastien-Lepage, it is great to find other painters who are interested in his work! Thanks!