William Scott Signed Prints & Originals

About William Scott

Biography for William Scott

Signed Prints & Originals

 

William Scott was born in Britain on 15 February 1913, in Greenock, Scotland, to Scots-Irish parents, in 1924 his family moved with his mother, Agnes to Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, to join his father in his native town. His father was a housepainter and signwriter, and was killed in an accident in 1927  while trying to save lives in a local fire. William was educated at the Model School and attended night classes in art at the Technical School, taught by Kathleen Bridle. In 1928 he went on to Belfast College of Art, and in 1931 he won a scholarship to the Royal AcademySchools in London. There he won a silver medal and became a Landseer scholar in painting. In London he shared rooms with three Swansea men, the painters Alfred Janes and Mervyn Levy and the poet Dylan Thomas. He was awarded a Leverhulme scholarship in 1935.

Scott married in 1937, and for the next two years lived abroad, mostly in Italy and in France, where he founded an art school in Pont-Aven, Brittany.

However, in 1939 after the declaration of World War II he returned abruptly to Britain, leaving much of his work in the hands of Julia Correlleau for safe-keeping. For six months he was in Dublin, where his first son, Robert, was born. During the early years of World War II he helped to run an art school in Bath, Somerset. In 1941 he settled in Hallatrow, High Littleton, Somerset. In July his second son, James, was born in Wells. In 1942 he volunteered for the navy, but was accepted for the army, and after serving with a number of regiments he became attached to the Royal Engineers, with whom he served until 1946 and where he learned lithography in the map-making section.

In 1946 Scott returned to Pont-Aven to recover his pre-war work, but failed to find it. From 1946 until 1956 Scott was senior lecturer in painting at the Bath Academy of Art. In the summer of 1953 he visited the USA where he met Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, Franz Kline and Mark Rothko. Although his work had become predominantly abstract in 1952, after his meeting with the American Abstract Expressionists., he reverted to his roots in still life and European painting.

In 1959-1961 he executed a mural for the Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry.

He died at his home near Bath, Somerset in 1989.

 

William Scott chose kitchen utensils as a recurring theme in his work, he explained, he found them “completely uninteresting” as objects. He felt he was free to explore the arrangements and relationship between these ordinary shapes and hopefully create tension from nothing. The result is a mysterious dynamic- the individual objects in these pictures developed sexual characteristics. In seemingly innocent still life’s, scenes of erotic drama are being played out; William Scott, print, signed ‘Three pairs and a pan’. Consider in this print, how the aroused male/pear presses against and into the inviting female pan/body. The phallic profile of the panhandle rubs against the female pan and poises threateningly between pears which now suggest the parted legs of another women.

Abstraction beckoned but never fully seduced William Scott. He was greatly impressed by abstract painter Mark Rothko. But continued on with figurative painting; William Scott, print, signed ‘Portrait of a Girl’.

However, in the late 1950’s after holidays in France and Italy, where he was heavily influence by the cave paintings at Lascaux and the frescoes of Pompeii (as well as admiring primitive and ancient Egyptian art) his still life’s became more abstract, his pots, bowls and table tops and nudes became less realistic: William Scott, print, signed ‘Iona’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Arran’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Barra’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Benbecula’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Jura’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Mingulay’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Scalpay’. These Scottish island works were at once austere and bold, empty and wild, ambiguous and plainly beautiful.

William Scott’s next series of prints were printed in Zurich and named after the Famous Odeon café which William Scott frequented whilst working in the Swiss city. These lithographs show a shift from Evocative Abstraction to Decorative Abstraction; William Scott, print, signed ‘Odeon Suite 1’. William Scot, print, signed ‘Odeon Suite 2’. William Scot, print, signed ‘Odeon Suite 3’. William Scot, print, signed ‘Odeon Suite 4’. William Scot, print, signed ‘Odeon Suite 5’. William Scot, print, signed ‘Odeon Suite 6’. These images are heavily rooted in William Scott’s famous ‘Berlin Blue’ series of paintings. Amorphous shapes with and without hinting bowl-like lines, floating on areas of patchy colour, were now the matter and mark, the point at which Scott was arguably furthest from figuration.

Another four years would pass before William Scott once again entered the printing studio. In 1970 William Scott produced five prints which summarise the polar shift in his work that occurred in the late 1960’s. The plain coloured grounds were there to stay, but his pans and bowls returned, but this time with a stylish simplicity; William Scott, print, signed ‘Cup and Pan Blues’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Cup, Bowl, Pan, Browns and Ochres’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Black pan, beige cup on Brown’.

The relatively minimal direction of William Scott’s work was taken a step further in 1972 with the publication of sixteen screenprints ‘A poem to Alexander’. Highly intellectual in their concept the series dealt with Euclid’s ten universal, mathematical “truths”. Although the pure geometry of the classical ideal is diluted by the untruth of art, in this case William Scott’s freehand construction, their formal elegance is seductive and charming and the symmetrical arrangements breathe with an agreeable movement and life. William Scott’s quasi-interpretation “lines with breadth”, parallel lines and equal angles become lost in an enjoyable sea of colour and the innocent exploration of forms and lines-sometimes tense, sometimes balanced; William Scott, print, signed ‘Areas Contrasted’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Blue Field’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Brown Filed Defined’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Cobalt Predominates’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Equals’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Blue and White Related’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Estate Landscapes’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Divided Counterchange’. William Scott, print, signed ‘First Triangles’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Forms Encaged’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Five on the Rectangle’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Second Triangles’. William Scott, print, signed ‘White Predominates’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Yellow Square plus Quarter Blue’. The message seems to be that education is useful, but adaption and change are also equally important “truths”.

One of Williams Scott’s great series, beginning in 1976, is the ‘Orchard of Pears’. Laden with erotic symbolism that the rounded shape had come to signify. A series of four small, succinct screenprints of pairs of pears; William Scott, print, signed ‘Lemon Pears’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Dark Pears’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Green Pears’. And William Scott, print, signed ‘Linear Pears’.

In 1976 William Scott revisited a familiar theme with an air of fond curiosity, as if to hold some rediscovered treasures up to the light. The ‘Summer Suite’ series have a languid self indulgent air; William Scott, print, signed ‘With Blue’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Brown Predominating’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Green Predominating’.

William Scott’s final prints were produced in the late 1980’s; William Scott, print, signed ‘Still Life’. William Scott, print, signed ‘Still Life with Lemon’.