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"ANDREW GEDDES (1783-1844) PAINTER-PRINTMAKER: A MAN OF PURE TASTE
2001-02-15 until 2001-04-29
National Galleries of Scotland
One of the most versatile Scottish artists of the first half of the nineteenth century, Andrew Geddes is an unsung hero in the history of Scottish art. There has not been an exhibition devoted to Geddes since 1821, when his one-man retrospective was held in Waterloo Place, Edinburgh. 180 years later, A Man of Pure Taste will restate the importance of Geddes role in the history of British art, drawing both on the rich holdings of the National Galleries of Scotland and on public and private collections throughout Britain.
Born in Edinburgh, Geddes studied painting in the celebrated York Place studio of Alexander Nasmyth and subsequently at the Royal Academy Schools in London as a contemporary of Wilkie. He went on to practise as a portrait painter in Edinburgh, before settling in London in 1814. He was nevertheless highly regarded in the Scottish capital, to which he frequently returned, and was seen as a potential successor to Scotland's leading portrait painter, Sir Henry Raeburn. Geddes' delightful small full-length portrait of Charles Robison WS skating on Duddingston Loch is a homage to Raeburn's Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, and these will be seen together for the first time in this exhibition.
With the encouragement of his close friend Sir David Wilkie, Geddes also became an expert etcher, and the exhibition will explore this aspect of his work in depth. He was also an important collector and dealer, buying such masterpieces as Rembrandt's Toilet of Bathsheba, Van Dyck's Infanta Isabella, and Frans Hals's Young Man with a Skull (the latter two are included in the exhibition). It was the history painter Benjamin Robert Haydon who later said of Geddes that he was a man of pure taste.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the first ever comprehensive book on Andrew Geddes. Published with support from The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, this book incorporates significant new research from curators and conservators at the National Galleries of Scotland and the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow.