Adam Bruce Thomson (1885- 1976) was a painter of great integrity whose long, productive life tells the story of Scottish painting for the first three quarters of the 20th century. Writing for the journal Scottish Art and Letters in 1946, when JD Fergusson was Art Editor, T Elder Dickson describes the artist:
“Thomson is a painter of uncompromising sincerity. Few artists contemplate a higher purpose or spare themselves less in striving after its fulfilment. Fastidious in all that pertains to his craft, he belongs by temperament and mental equipment to the central stream of European painting initiated by Giotto and revitalised by Seurat and Cézanne. In other respects, especially in his love of colour and fine craftsmanship he is thoroughly Scottish.”
Our exhibition is selected from the studio and the accompanying catalogue gives the most in-depth view of Bruce Thomson to date. The exhibition showcases the full span of Bruce Thomson’s oeuvre and includes pre-war etchings, drawings from the allied front, and sumptuous watercolours in the ‘Edinburgh School’ tradition. That there are so many wonderful examples, unexhibited or not seen for the best part of a century, speaks of the artist’s modesty: he never sought advancement, but his work ethic, professionalism and long life has assured a significant artistic legacy. Twenty-four sketchbooks were lodged with the National Library of Scotland in 1981 and we hope further significant placements of his work with our Museums will result from this exhibition.