John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
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John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)

On the Road to the Isles

Details
John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
On the Road to the Isles
signed and dated 'J.D. FERGUSSON./1928' (on the reverse), signed again and inscribed 'THE ROAD TO THE ISLES,/J.D. FERGUSSON' (on the artist's label attached to the stretcher)
oil on canvas
22 x 24 in. (55.9 x 61 cm.)
Provenance
with Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery, London, March 1932.
Margaret Morris, and by descent.
Exhibited
London, Alex Reid & Lefevre, Paintings and Sculpture by J.D. Fergusson, March 1932, no. 9.
London, Leicester Galleries, John Duncan Fergusson 1874-1961, May - June 1964, no. 73.
Edinburgh, The Scottish Gallery, J.D. Fergusson - La Vie Bohème, December 2013.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Louise Simpson
Louise Simpson

Lot Essay

Fergusson’s friend John Ressich was not only one of his closest intellectual allies, but also a reliable source of companionship and professional support. The tours of the Scottish highlands on which he accompanied Fergusson in 1922 and 1928 rekindled the artist’s interest in the Scottish landscape and precipitated periods of concentrated productivity. It is curious, given Fergusson’s self-image as a Highlander, that he had so far remained impervious to the pictorial possibilities of this subject matter. But that was to change with his Highland tours, which resulted in a flurry of paintings. On the Road to the Isles painted in 1928 belongs to this series of works. The title suggests that Fergusson and John Ressich were possibly en route to Oban, known as ‘The gateway to the Isles’. Other paintings from this series include Storm around Ben Ledi, The Rocky Glen, A Puff of smoke near Milngavie and Looking over Killiecrankie, as with the present work they vividly register his response to the ever changing drama of the Scottish landscape. ‘The grandeur and variety of the vistas that confronted Fergusson on his travels brought out a Cézanne-like concern for pictorial structure and a richly hued palette’ (S. McGregor, exhibition catalogue, J.D. Fergusson, Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, 2013, p. 98). Strong in colour, this highland landscape shows a more sensitive awareness of the power of tone than in his earlier works.

Interestingly in 1928 the year that he painted On the Road to the Isles Fergusson had his second successful show in New York, this time at the Kraushaar gallery. In March 1931 Galeries Georges Petit held an important exhibition in Paris, Les Peintures Écossais, where a painting was acquired by the Musée Luxembourg in Paris. In 1932 On the Road to the Isles was shown at the Lefevre Gallery’s Fergusson exhibition in London, and along with Souvenir de Jumiège and The Bridge and Shiehallion, it was one of the key paintings in the exhibition.

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