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Samuel John Peploe

1871 - 1935

Peploe was the eldest of the four Scottish Colourists, a group of artists who worked in an idiom remarkable for its painterly freedom and richness of colour. Peploe, Cadell and Hunter first exhibited together at the Leicester Galleries in 1923; the following year they were joined by Fergusson at the Galerie Barbazanges, Paris and dubbed 'Les Peintres de l'Ecosse Moderne'. Although they were greatly influenced by French paintings, particularly the developments of Fauvism, their initial approach was determined by the bold handling and use of colour established by the Scottish artists McTaggart and McGregor.

Peploe first studied at the Edinburgh College of Art in 1893, and then continued his training in Paris in 1893, at both the Academie Julian under Adolphe William Bouguereau, and the Atelier Colarossi. At this time he was considerably impressed by the work of Corot, Chardin, Courbet and Cezanne. He also admired Velasquez, and seventeenth-century Dutch painters, especially Frans Hals, whose work he saw on a visit to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, in 1895.

During this period Peploe led a cosmopolitan life, working in Britain, in Barra and Devon, and travelling extensively throughout France, in the company of his friend and colleague John Duncan Fergusson, with whom he spent several holidays, painting at Etaples, Paris, Plage, Dunkirk, Berneval, Dieppe and Le Treport.

Peploe returned to Edinburgh in 1896 and settled at his first studio in Shandwick Place, where the dark surroundings suited the sombre palette of his early still lifes, nudes and figures studies. He moved to Devon Place in 1900, where he developed a more sophisticated choice of subject matter, matched by an increasingly rich application of the paint, and to York Place in 1905, where the lighter space was reflected in the heightened tonality of his work.

He married Margaret MacKay in 1910, and decided to move to Paris, where he remained until 1912, when he returned permanently to Edinburgh and set up a studio in Queen Street. He painted in Arran in 1913, in Crawford and Kirkcudbright in 1914, and frequently spent the summer painting in Iona, with Cadell, between 1920-1933.

Peploe exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, where he was elected a member in 1927, the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, and in London at the Allied Artists Association. He held two one-man shows at Aitken Kott & Son in 1903 and 1909, and exhibited at the Kraushaan Gallery, New York, in 1928, and at Reid and Lefevre,

London in 1935.


Still Life with Roses in a Chinese Vase
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