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20 Nov 2015

Three Centuries of Art in Scotland 18th to 21st century

Henry Raeburn
James Duff - (1776-1857), 4th Earl of Fife, c.1815 (detail)
Oil on canvas, 253×197 cm
Collection University of Dundee Museum, Dundee
Copyright: University of Dundee, Museum Services

Three Centuries of Art in Scotland 18th to 21st century
Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg, Montbéliard - F


The opening is 20 November 2015, 6 pm 21 November 2015 – 28 February 2016 Open daily 10 - 12 am / 2 - 6 pm Closed on Tuesday

Aurélie Voltz Director of 'Musées de Montbéliard'
+33 3 81 99 23 45

Musée du château des ducs de Wurtemberg
25200 Montbéliard

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Inspired by a ballad written by the poet Robert Burns - 'My Love is like a red red rose' (1788) - the title of this exhibition introduces a quasi-amorous focus on the artistic scenes in Scotland, since the country is the guest of honour at the Montbéliard Christmas Market this winter. For the Romans, Scotland was 'on the edge of the habitable world'; but Voltaire claimed that, 'we look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation'. Ranging over three hundred years of art history, this exhibition attempts to highlight independent spirit, trace filiations, touch upon certain clichés and open new perspectives.

Approximately 100 loans are brought together from universities, national and private collections in Scotland and England, as well as from French public collections for the first time in France. Combining the traditional and the avant-garde, paintings, photographs, furniture, films, sculptures are in dialogue with Scottish philosophy, literature, music and dance.
Beginning in the Age of Enlightenment with portrait painters who played a major role in the intellectual life of Edinburgh, pioneering research in social sciences and aesthetics, the exhibition continues with a series of Scottish landscapes tinted by national sentiment and romanticism. Nature and culture merge in panoramic views of the river Clyde and the lochs, often echoing Walter Scott's novels. The cruel legacy of the Highland clearances, forcing thousands of farmers to emigrate, is manifest. Social realism and a sense of belonging to a Celtic culture converge. The typically Victorian Pre-Raphaelite movement reveals genre scenes and historical legends, while Symbolism plunges into inner voyages.

In full industrial expansion, Glasgow becomes a new cultural capital in the second half of the 19th century. Hill & Adamson undertake documentary and humanist photography such as the early calotypes taken at the port of Newhaven. The Glasgow Boys opt for a more realist approach in urban and rural painting. Leading the Glasgow Style, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and The Four set the tone for a new era: they invent a type of modernism, associating symbolist curves and myths to geometric rigour. At the turn of the 20th century, the Edinburgh group of painters head to Paris. In their landscapes and still lives, the Colourists address forms through colour. Among them, John Duncan Fergusson extends his research to movement and rhythm, influenced by the revolutions occurring in dance at the time.

In the second half of the 20th century, Eduardo Paolozzi and Ian Hamilton Finlay represent a new generation of Scottish sculptors, rooted in the human condition and poetry, Pop culture and conceptual art. Since then, the Scottish art scenes and their highly diverse practices - from design, to experimental film, painting, and applied arts - occupy a significant place internationally. Many artists activate their cultural memory to forge their contemporary projections. Douglas Gordon declares: 'I Still Believe In Miracles'.

The exhibition includes works by:
Henry Raeburn, Allan Ramsay, Medina the Younger, David Martin, John Fleming, Charlotte Nasmyth, John MacWhirter, Abraham Cooper, Joseph Noel Paton, John Watson Nicol, David Gauld, John Duncan, James Ferrier Pryde, Duncan McGregor Whyte, David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson, James Craig Annan, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Katherine Cameron, Christopher Dresser, William York MacGregor, Samuel John Peploe, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, George Leslie Hunter, John Duncan Fergusson, Margaret Morris, John Grierson, William MacTaggart, Anne Redpath, Margaret Tait, Norman McLaren, Eduardo Paolozzi, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Douglas Gordon, Lucy McKenzie, Martin Boyce, Luke Fowler, Katie Schwab, as well as major publications.

Exhibition curators:
Caroline Hancock, Independent curator
Aurélie Voltz, Director of the Musées de Montbéliard