Article: Art in Focus: Untitled (Plate, Grapes, Pear & Jug)

Untitled (Plate, Grapes, Pear & Jug), 1975

Read Aidan Dunne’s article in The Irish Times

The elegant simplicity of Scott’s celebrated work emerged from a long apprenticeship

What is it?

Untitled (Plate, Grapes, Pear & Jug) is a 1975 charcoal drawing by William Scott (1913-1989).

How was it done?

Scott is probably best known as a painter, but there is a strongly graphic character to much of his painting, and drawing was always important to him even though, until the early 1970s, he chose not to exhibit his drawings. It is as though, prior to this time, he regarded drawing as a mode of personal research and experimentation. The inclusion of drawings in two major shows of his work in 1971 and 1972 – to great acclaim – changed his mind, and from then on drawing was a significant, primary pursuit.   In 1975, the year he made this drawing, he noted that, more than a decade earlier he had, through a process of elimination, moved towards a mode of spare abstraction. But even his most abstract work seemed to retain connections with his pre-eminent subject, still life, or to a lesser extent with landscape or the human figure. He had a great sense of design in organising forms in space, and a sensitive feeling for line in delineating form. Visible revision was always part of a drawing for him, hence his choice of charcoal or soft lead pencil.  He quoted Leonardo: “Drawing is the art of correction.” All of these qualities are evident in this beautifully judged still life drawing.

Where can I see it?

It is included in Collectibles at Solomon Fine Art, (Balfe St, Dublin September 6th – 28th an exhibition of 20th century and contemporary Irish and British painting, print and sculpture, organised with London’s Osborne Samuel Gallery. The show includes works by an extensive range of artists including a Lucian Freud etching of his daughter Bella, a tiny Henry Moore bronze figure plus sculptures by Sean Henry, Eilis O’Connell and Rowan Gillespie. Other featured artists are Grayson Perry, Patrick Heron, Marc Quinn, Louis le Brocquy, Basil Blackshaw, Elizabeth Magill, Ben Nicholson and more.