William Scott

Scott was born in Greenock, Scotland, in 1913 and raised there and in Northern Ireland. He received his art training in Belfast and London, at Enniskillen Technical School and then the Belfast College of Art. In 1931, he left Belfast and moved to London, where he studied at the Royal Academy Schools. Scott married in 1937, and in the following two years he moved to Pont-Aven, Brittany, and traveled throughout France. Scott returned to Britain before the outbreak of World War II and began teaching. He had his first solo exhibition in 1948 at the Leicester Galleries in London, and by the early 1950s he was exhibiting extensively.

Scott’s first of many solo exhibitions at the Hanover Gallery, London, took place in 1953. That summer he visited New York, where he met Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock, which would encourage a newfound freedom of scale and color in his work. His first New York exhibition was in 1954 (Three British Artists: Hepworth, Bacon, and Scott) at the Martha Jackson Gallery.

Scott showed at the Hanover Gallery until 1971 and at Martha Jackson until 1979, becoming, along with Francis Bacon and Henry Moore, one of the few British artists of his generation to gain an international reputation. Thereafter, representation of Scott in Britain passed to Gimpel Fils, but it lapsed in the United States after the closure of the Martha Jackson Gallery. Scott died in 1989.

Scott represented Britain at the XXIX Venice Biennale, in 1958. The first major retrospective of his work occurred in 1960 at the Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover. Further retrospectives have taken place at the Kunsthalle Bern, 1963; Tate Gallery, London, 1972; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1975; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 1986; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 1998; and Tate St. Ives, 2013.

Selected Artworks

June 19, 2017

Why Old Women Have Replaced Young Men as the Art World’s Darlings

Artsy Editorial by Anna Louie Sussman

Seeing the retrospective in Paris convinced McCaffrey, the longtime collector and gallerist, that he needed to bring her (Carol Rama) work to the U.S. market. He mounted a show of nearly 50 works from between 1938 and 1945 in September 2016. “Unless you have recognition in the U.S., you don’t really have a market,” he says. “We showed Ramas this time last year in Basel and Americans had no awareness.” This year, his booth at Art Basel in Basel placed Rama alongside the Gutai artist Kazuo Shiraga, as both artists’ work addressed life under totalitarianism by seeking to liberate the body and its functions. Read More
June 16, 2017

Gutai’s spectacular rise—and potential fall

The Art Newspaper by Matthew Wilcox

Crucial in Gutai’s sudden boom, in McCaffrey’s view, was the fact that the group had essentially been ignored in the US since the 1950s. “Look at the market for Italian post-war work, or back to the late 1980s, when the German Neo-Expressionists started to make an impact in the US. There are these discrepancies in information and knowledge that pop up.” Read More