DEREK CLARKE ARSA: PORTRAITS OF ROCKS

14 November - 24 December 2014
Overview

This is the first major exhibition of landscape paintings by the late Derek Clarke to be shown since the artist’s death in February 2014, aged 101.

Inspired by Scottish and Irish landscapes and painted over a period of 80 years, the 25 paintings in this exhibition had, until recently, sat undisturbed in the artist’s studio in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

The exhibition begins in 1943 with a landscape – View of Notre Dame du Montaigne, River, Evening – painted from his hospital bed in Algiers whilst convalescing. Clarke had enlisted the day after the outbreak of the Second World War, and was serving with the Durham Light Infantry when he was severely wounded in action in Tunisia. The major part of the show consists of later landscapes of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Tuscany. Drawn to challenging, wild and rugged topography, he called the pictures ‘portraits of rocks’.

A student at the Slade School of Art (1931-1935), where he underwent a disciplined training, Clarke went on to join the staff at Edinburgh College of Art, where he taught drawing and painting for 30 years until retiring in 1978. He would be known, in particular, for his dedication to drawing and for his deep knowledge and understanding of geology and the natural world. His pupils at ECA included Elizabeth Blackadder, John Bellany, George Donald and Barbara Rae, Ricky Demarco and Pat Semple, and his colleagues Sir William Gillies, John Maxwell, Sir Robin Philipson, Dennis Peploe and Victoria Crowe.

There is an intensity and quality of light in Clarke's landscapes, a result of his preference to work en plein air. A love and passion for colour was maintained until his final days.

Clarke was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1989 and an academician in 2006 and was given a retrospective exhibition there in 2013 to mark his centenary. He was also a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Watercolourists and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He was awarded the MBE for services to art in the New Year's Honours list on 31 December 2013, his 101st birthday.

Press release

Eighty years of Landscape Painting

This is the first major exhibition of landscape paintings by the late Derek Clarke to be shown since the artist’s death in February 2014, aged 101.

Inspired by Scottish and Irish landscapes and painted over a period of 80 years, the 25 paintings in this exhibition had, until recently, sat undisturbed in the artist’s studio in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

The exhibition begins in 1943 with a landscape – View of Notre Dame du Montaigne, River, Evening – painted from his hospital bed in Algiers whilst convalescing. Clarke had enlisted the day after the outbreak of the Second World War, and was serving with the Durham Light Infantry when he was severely wounded in action in Tunisia. The major part of the show consists of later landscapes of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Tuscany. Drawn to challenging, wild and rugged topography, he called the pictures ‘portraits of rocks’.

A student at the Slade School of Art (1931-1935), where he underwent a disciplined training, Clarke went on to join the staff at Edinburgh College of Art, where he taught drawing and painting for 30 years until retiring in 1978. He would be known, in particular, for his dedication to drawing and for his deep knowledge and understanding of geology and the natural world. His pupils at ECA included Elizabeth Blackadder, John Bellany, George Donald and Barbara Rae, Ricky Demarco and Pat Semple, and his colleagues Sir William Gillies, John Maxwell, Sir Robin Philipson, Dennis Peploe and Victoria Crowe.

There is an intensity and quality of light in Clarke's landscapes, a result of his preference to work en plein air. A love and passion for colour was maintained until his final days.

Clarke was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1989 and an academician in 2006 and was given a retrospective exhibition there in 2013 to mark his centenary. He was also a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Watercolourists and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He was awarded the MBE for services to art in the New Year's Honours list on 31 December 2013, his 101st birthday.