Art Wednesday: William MacTaggart, Scottish Painter and Playwright

The Storm 1890 Oil on canvas, 122 x 183 cm National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. In Scotland the 1880s saw a lively interest in open-air painting. The Glasgow School, numbering some thirty members, was of key importance. Foremost in the group were James Guthrie, his fellow Scot William MacTaggart and the Irish artist John Lavery. They agreed in their opposition to prevailing Victorian taste and the methods of the Royal Scottish Academy.

The Storm
1890
Oil on canvas, 122 x 183 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.
In Scotland the 1880s saw a lively interest in open-air painting. The Glasgow School, numbering some thirty members, was of key importance. Foremost in the group were James Guthrie, his fellow Scot William MacTaggart and the Irish artist John Lavery. They agreed in their opposition to prevailing Victorian taste and the methods of the Royal Scottish Academy.

MacTaggart’s love of the sea began in his childhood, spent on the west coast of Scotland. An aptitude for portrait painting led him to Edinburgh in 1852 where he became one of a brilliant generation of students under Robert Scott Lauder at the Trustees’ Academy.

In 1857 he visited the Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester, seeing paintings by the Old Masters and by Constable and Turner, for both of whom he had a lifelong admiration. His naturalistic style was influenced by the English Pre-Raphaelites whom he met in Manchester.

He published two plays, “The Wreck of the Hesperus” in 1861 and “Dora” in 1868. In 1870 he was made a member of the Royal Scottish Academy and exhibited there regularly until 1895. He made only three short trips to the Continent.

His highly expressive coastal landscapes, which capture moods and dissolve forms to the point of abstraction, reveal his acquaintance with contemporary painting on the continent. He never really became known outside his native Scotland.

His grandson, William MacTaggart the Younger (1903-1981) was also a painter.

On the Web:

William MacTaggart – Wikipedia

Crash

Advertisements