1911 - 1990
Edwin Lucas is a newly discovered artist. In the late 1930s, Lucas associated with innovative and, later, influential students at Edinburgh College of Art, including Wilhelmina Barns-Graham from whom Lucas rented a studio in 1939. His involvement with Surrealism dates from this year and his pictures stand apart from anything his contemporaries were producing. Initially inspired by major figures such as Magritte, he soon found his own seam of Surrealism. This independence of thought and drive for innovation led him to spend the next twelve years producing an impressive body of work that was unlike anything that was being made in Scotland at the time.
Though he showed artistic promise from early childhood Lucas was discouraged from pursuing a career in the arts as his uncle had struggled to make a living from his art, despite being a respected painter. Although he had a career in the civil service, Lucas regarded himself as a painter who had a day job to fund his art. As contemporary painter John Byrne exclaimed 'It's shameful, but thank God at long last we have discovered him - he is a great, great enormous talent.' Patrick Elliott, senior curator Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, explained his paintings inclusion in the national collection: "They are impressive because they are inexplicable, I've not seen anything quite like them before in my 20 years at the Gallery of Modern Art: there's a bit of Picasso, but overall he's got nothing in common with anyone painting in Scotland at the time - or in fact anywhere else."