John Duncan Fergusson

Rue St Jacques (1907)

About this artwork

After many extended visits to Paris, often with Samuel Peploe, Fergusson moved to the French capital in 1907. He began to teach at the Académie de la Palette and exhibited in the city for the first time, at the Salon d’Automne. Fergusson enjoyed painting the Parisian streets such as Rue St Jacques, which is in the Latin Quarter, using portable, small panels. In Paris, Fergusson quickly became familiar with the techniques of Fauve artists, including Henri Matisse, whose expressive technique and use of a brightly coloured palette affected the Scottish colourists, as can be seen in this work.

John Duncan Fergusson

John Duncan Fergusson

‘Scottish Colourist’ John Duncan Fergusson is recognised as one of the most influential Scottish painters of the 20th century. Mostly self-taught, he moved to Paris in 1907, where he became a member of the Parisian art circles to which artists such as Matisse and Picasso also belonged. The outbreak of the First World War forced him to return to Britain, and by 1918 he was an established member of the art scene in Chelsea, London. In 1929 he went back to Paris for a further eleven years before moving to Glasgow, where he lived until his death. Like his friend S J Peploe, Fergusson’s early work was influenced by that of Whistler and the Glasgow Boys, but in France he came across Fauvism and adopted a similar style, using pure, bright colours and bold, rhythmic contours.