John McNairn

Eyemouth Sea Shore, Jour de Fete (1948)

About this artwork

McNairn reserved a brighter palette than normal for places he visited on holiday, such as the Galloway fishing village, Portpatrick, and Eyemouth on the east coast. In this painting of Eyemouth, McNairn inventively uses the device of fluttering coloured flags to trace a rhythm across the centre of the composition. It has all the joy seen in the bright world of the French fauvist painter Raoul Dufy, whose work McNairn admired.

  • title: Eyemouth Sea Shore, Jour de Fete
  • accession number: GMA 5122
  • artist: John McNairnScottish (1910 - 2009)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: The sea
  • medium: Oil on board
  • date created: 1948
  • measurements: 63.40 x 75.80 cm
  • credit line: Purchased with funds from the Cecil and Mary Gibson Bequest 2010

John McNairn

John McNairn

Born in Hawick, McNairn was encouraged by his father, an amateur painter, to enroll at Edinburgh College of Art. He began in 1927, a time of extreme creativity following the end of the First World War. On graduation McNairn travelled to Paris where he attended the Académie Scandinave, drawn by the presence of the fauve artist, Othon Friesz. In 1933 he saw the surrealist exhibition in the city, which had a striking effect on him; he has stated the disturbing effect that Dalí and Miró had on him especially. This influence is identifiable in much of McNairn’s work through an unsettling emptiness and a slightly unnatural perspective. Following war service, McNairn returned to Scotland and became an art teacher.