William Scott

Reclining Nude (Red Nude)

1956

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 914 x 1524 mm
frame: 964 x 1571 x 62 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1965
Reference
T00811

Display caption

Scott worked from the figure at various times in his life and painted a number of nudes between 1954 and 1957. The earlier of these, with their large flattened bodies and tapering spiky limbs, have a primitive and fierce quality and have been compared with ancient or tribal art. This painting is from a slightly later group of works which clearly demonstrate Scott's great admiration for the paintings of Bonnard. A copy of Bonnard's 'The Bath' from the Tate's collection hung in Scott's home. The contours of 'Reclining Nude' also refer to landscape. The combination of figure and landscape had been an earlier preoccupation and subject of Scott's.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

William Scott 1913-1989

T00811 Reclining Nude (red nude) 1956

Not inscribed.
Canvas, 36 x 60 (91.5 x 152.5).
Purchased from Miss Erica Brausen through the Hanover Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1965.
Coll: Purchased by Miss Brausen from the artist through the Hanover Gallery 1956.
Exh: Hanover Gallery, September-October 1956 (17) as ‘Red Nude’; Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover, June-July 1960 (presumably as 24, ‘Nude’ 1957) and tour to Freiburg, Dortmund and Munich, 1960–61.
Lit: Alan Bowness, William Scott: Paintings, 1964, pp. 9–10, 35 repr. upside down pl. 61 in colour.

One of a series of reclining or standing nudes painted in 1956–7. It has been reproduced the other way up but the artist says that it was painted in the way it is now shown (with the head on the right). Moreover this presentation gives the image a strong suggestion of landscape - an ambiguous fusion of figure and landscape forms as in various other pictures of the period.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1965–1966, London 1967.

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