This is the first major work by the Scottish artist Barns-Graham to enter the Scottish national collection.
Glacier Chasm by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, 1951
© Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust
- Oil, Oil on canvas
- 76.2 x 91.5 cm
- Acquired in:
- Presented by:
- The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust through The Art Fund
It had previously been on loan to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for 16 years, and was presented to mark the centenary of the artist's birth.
In 1949 the artist travelled to Switzerland, to the Grindelwald Glacier near Berne - an encounter which marked a major turning point in her stylistic development, and which became the basis of a number of her most important paintings, including this work. The experience of the glacier offered a unique opportunity to explore the nature of interior and exterior forms. The artist described the aesthetic impact of Grindelwald thus: 'The massive strength and size of the glaciers, the fantastic shapes, the contrast of solidity and transparency, the many reflected colours in the strong light…This likeness to glass and transparency, combined with solid rough ridges made me wish to combine in a work all angles at once, from above, through, and all round, as a bird flies, a total experience.'
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust