SAMUEL JOHN PEPLOE
As one of the Scottish Colourists, Samuel Peploe is a seminal figure of early 20th century Scottish Art. Along with his life-long friend and peer, J.D. Fergusson, and the slightly younger F.C.B. Cadell and Leslie Hunter, Peploe stood in opposition to the conventions of the contemporary Edinburgh academic art establishment and its slavish subscription to the values of high finish and imitative drawing. He reaffirmed and developed the achievement of late 19th century artists like McTaggart in breaking away from these constraints to find a style which gave back to painting some of its monumentality and expressive breadth.
Born in Edinburgh, he studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and attended life classes at the RSA, but shortly afterwards left for Paris to enroll at the Academie Julian. It seems that he himself thought little of the education he received there, but he was nevertheless exposed to the dynamic artistic world of Parisian cafe society. He admired and assimilated many of the ideas of the Impressionists, the Fauves, Van Gogh and Cezanne and began to paint accordingly.
His work is extremely ‘painterly’, marked by a vigorous handling of paint and bold use of colour which he turned to every type of subject matter; still life, landscape, street scenes and figurative works.
He continued to travel to France regularly, both the northern ports and the dazzling, brightly-lit vistas of the Cote d'Azur, but also increasingly enjoyed painting in Iona, Kirkcudbrightshire and elsewhere in Scotland. He died in Edinburgh on 11th October 1935, having finally gained popular and critical acclaim in his last years for his beautiful, vibrant paintings.