An extraordinary display celebrating the life of one of Scotland’s most popular twentieth- century artists, Joan Eardley, will lead the reopening of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) on Sunday 16 May

The celebratory two-room display will mark 100 years since the birth of Eardley, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential painters of her generation. It will offer visitors an insight into her working practice and focus on her works in Catterline, the coastal village in Kincardineshire, where she worked from the early 1950s.

All drawn from the NGS permanent collection, the display will feature nine oil paintings, 13 works on paper, and a selection of photographs and archival materials. It will include some of Eardley’s most iconic paintings, such as Catterline in Winter (1963), Summer Fields (1961) and Snow (1958). Maps of Catterline, marked with the locations where the artist stood to draw and paint her subjects will be presented in the galleries, allowing visitors to trace her movements.

Inspired by her immediate surroundings, Eardley made powerful and expressive paintings of everyday subjects, including Scottish coastal scenes and children playing on the streets in Glasgow. During her lifetime she was considered a member of the post-war British avant-garde group of artists who portrayed the realities of life in the mid-twentieth century.

Commenting on the display, Leila Riszko, NGS Curatorial Assistant said: We want to transport visitors to mid-twentieth century Catterline, to tell the story of what it was about this remote coastal community that so captivated Joan Eardley, providing the ideal setting for her development as an artist. Whether she was depicting land or sea, she had a truly inimitable ability to translate her everyday surroundings into powerful, emotionally evocative drawings and paintings and that is what makes her one of the most admired and influential artists of her generation. We are very fortunate to have particularly rich holdings of Eardley’s Catterline works in our collection and we are delighted to be able to celebrate her centenary year with this stunning display.”

As part of the wider programme of Eardley centenary celebrations, NGS is also producing a series of podcasts in which broadcaster and artist Lachlan Goudie will be joined by figures from the art world and beyond to try to better understand the character of this ground-breaking artist. Each episode will be available for free on the NGS website and Soundcloud account from May.

Joan Eardley & Catterline
16 May (closing date to be confirmed)
The Gallery will initially open for three days a week (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One)
75 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DR
0131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org
Admission free, but booking required