Blue and White is an exceptionally masterful still life, from a pivotal moment in Scott's career, between 1958 - 1959, in which he moved further towards pure abstraction. While in earlier paintings, such as the Tate Gallery's Winter Still Life, 1956, Scott retained the vestiges of recognisable form in the objects which filled his compositions, in the present work, we see those signifiers of function starting to fall away. Here, the table-top has become less recognisable and the objects themselves, whilst still crowded together in carefully placed groups, are becoming pure painterly elements. It is this ability however which gives Scott’s work of the period its enormously attractive aspects, combining the figurative and abstract with such apparent ease, allowing the viewer to keep or forget the associations of the objects and their settings as one wishes.
It is noticeable how the rigidity of the composition is beginning to disappear, and the lines bend. The undulation of the composition becomes very much at one with the organic qualities of the objects, which have now almost completely lost any recognisable features. These forms seem to float across the picture surface, drifting gently to the outer edges, adding a sense that what we see is only a snapshot of some larger image.
The Artist Martha Jackson, New YorkAnderson Gallery, Buffalo
Offer Waterman, London
New York, Martha Jackson Gallery, William
Scott 1952-1962, 25 September - 20 October, 1962, unnumbered, illus b/w as ‘Blue
and White Painting’
New York, Martha Jackson Gallery, A Survey of Gallery Exhibitions,
Gallery, William Scott Memorial Exhibition, 26 September – 31 October
1992, cat no.16
Bowness (introduction), William Scott 1952-1962, exh. cat
Alan Bowness, William
Scott: Paintings, Lund Humphries, London, 1964, pp10, 37, cat no.92, illus
Robert Fusillo. letter to William Scott, December 1964
Pernilla Holmes. ‘Report Card: William Scott RA’, Art Review, 2002,
Modern British Art, Offer Waterman & Co, London, 2002, p21,
Whitfield, William Scott Catalogue Raisonné of Oil Paintings 1952-1959,
Volume 2, 1952-1959, cat no.362 illus colour p238
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