Artist biography

Scottish painter. She studied briefly at Goldsmiths College, London (1938–9), then at the Glasgow School of Art (1940–43). She was influenced by the Scottish Colourists, but also deeply affected by the life and atmosphere of the slums of the city. For her subject-matter she concentrated on street life, young children and the elderly, blending realism and compassion but without sentimentality. Typical is Street Kids (c. 1949–51; Edinburgh, N.G. Mod. A.). In 1951 she moved to the west coast of Scotland where she often worked outdoors, painting marine and landscape scenes in many different moods, sometimes incorporating real pieces of grass in the paint. Among some of her finest and most powerful works are fierce and bold evocations of the wind and the weather. Notable is Catterline in Winter (1963; Edinburgh, N.G. Mod. A.). She was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1955 and a full Academician in 1963.

C. Oliver: ‘Joan Eardley and Glasgow', Scot. A. Rev., xiv/3 (1974), pp. 16–19
W. Buchanan: Joan Eardley (Edinburgh, 1976)
Four Contemporary Scottish Painters: Eardley, Haig, Philipson, Pulsford (exh. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean, 1977)


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