Friday, 15 July 2011

Amongst the clouds; the work of J. Whitelaw Hamilton

JAMES WHITELAW HAMILTON ARSA RSW (1860-1932) was born in Glasgow in 1860 and spent the majority of his life in Helensburgh. Known as an associate of the Glasgow Boys, Hamilton works reflects a wide-variety of influences. He began studying fine art in Glasgow and continued his studies in Paris. It was in Paris where he met artists Dagnan-Bouveret and Aime Morot, both leaders of the 19th century French Movement. It has often been suggested that Hamilton's association with Morot and the French Movement influenced his subject choice; landscapes. However, Hamilton's work reflects a much deeper connection with the movement, the rich palette and quiet tones of his work is emblematic of the French Movement.

Upon his return to Scotland, Hamilton continued to paint landscapes, working alongside James Guthrie and several other Glasgow Boys. Hamilton's work is often considered classical and traditionalist in the subject matter and approach and he was often pigeon-holed for the lack of vibrancy and energy of his work. However, in recent years, Hamilton's work has come back to the limelight and the painterly quality of his sensitive and quiet work has found an ever more enthusiastic international audience. This has been reflected by rising prices at auction both in the UK and mainland Europe including £10,000 (Sotheby's Gleneagles August 2008 lot 87 - "Harbour Side" a small oil on canvas dated 1887).

Our July 19th Fine and Contemporary sale features a rare garden scene by Hamilton. The subtle hints of light are ignited by the cool palette outlining the fauna along edges of the work - a genuinely outstanding example of the artist's work.

Lot 19, 'In My Garden' by James Whitelaw Hamilton is estimated at £6500 -8000.

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