True to Life: British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 30s

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

1 July – 29 October 2017

£5 with National Art Pass (standard entry £10)

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An exhibition focused on the figurative work of the modernist period.

Harold Sandys Williamson, Spray, c1940

Instead of showcasing more dominant forms of abstract modernism that were typified by the St Ives group, this exhibition shines a light on some of the astounding figurative work that was produced in the early 20th century.

The works do not come from one particular artist group, instead showcasing a myriad of styles that are unified by the creator's desire to realistically portray the world around us For example, take Harold Williamson’s Spray, which depicts a modern woman on her swimwear and cap sat on a rocky shoreline, shielding herself from the lapping shore. Her body is suspended in a perfect reactionary moment, with muscles exquisitely outlined in the summer light as the rugged, natural forms of the coast surround her.

Gerald Leslie Brockhurst also drew on themes closely associated with abstraction but chose to explore them through figurative representation. His portrait titled By The Hills depicts a young woman with flawless, porcelain skin, the folds of her garments and curls of her hair picked out perfectly. The stunning blue hues of clothes almost melt into the fading landscape, creating a sombre tone that marries perfectly with her intense, longing, far-away stare.

Venue information

Opening times

Sun – Sat, 10am – 5pm

Closed 25 & 26 Dec

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)