This painting went up for sale at Bonhams (Edinburgh) in a sale of C19th and C20th pictures and prints in April 2010.
Although the signature on the painting of Broughty Ferry Harbour, Dundee, is that of Ian Morrison the work was actually by two of Scotland’s most famous C20th artists – Alberto Morrocco and David McClure.
Here is the story. In 1964 Ian Morrison (an art student) sketched out the composition for the above painting of the harbour. His tutors were Alberto Morrocco and David McClure. From all accounts Morrocco took up the brush and finished the painting for him with McClure adding in a boat. The student then added a few more strokes to the gull in the foreground and initialled the painting. His painting, finally revealed as the work of Alberto Morrocco was sold for a good sum but not the usual value realised by Morrocco's paintings. (Information taken from the Bonham Auction site).
For us, the painting is a lovely segue from piers to birds but let's take a quick look at Alberto Morrocco's work on the way. This is his Puerto de Soller (a port in Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain)
There are two ways to look at the paintings of birds in art. There are painters who like to include birds in their images as a decorative or narrative motif as shown here in Alberto Morrocco's painting Still Life with White Bird. The Hero Image, snipped from one of my paintings, shows the same purpose. There is no attempt to make the bird anatomically perfect.
And there are Birds Artists who are ornithological experts and paint their subjects correctly down to the last feather. Today we will look at birds used in the first way, decorative, or part of the narrative. Here is a lovely painting of The Kingfisher by Van Gogh.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525–1569) was a Netherlandish Renaissance painter who gave great insight into the relationship between humans and nature. We will study all the Bruegel family of artists but for today appreciate Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap.
You might however prefer Monet's The Magpie.
And I have no doubt you will all agree with me when I vote this the winner. It is The Pond by American Andrew Wyeth (we have met him before). It is so subtle, so perfect in terms of composition. Wouldn't you love to be able to paint like this?
And, I almost forgot to show you the winner of the competition for who can fit the most birds in a painting. It goes to Karl Wilhelm De Hamilton (1668-1754) for his Parliament of Birds. Karl, was the son of another Scottish painter, James Hamilton.
So we have managed to start looking at images of birds, tie this to some Scottish artists, and I have also planted for a future blog the seeds for reviewing families of artists. Bruegel, Wyeth and Hamilton all came from families where many members were accomplished artists.
To finish up today I must wish all my Russian and Greek Orthodox family and friends a Happy Easter. And in celebration of new life here is another photo from Chris of New York. It is also a winner.
No Blog tomorrow to give me time to celebrate a christening, a birthday party, and the Orthodox Easter.
Next Blog we will look in depth at birds through the expert Bird Artists.
Artsy is an online site dedicated to making all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. I highly recommend you visit the site when you have time to browse around. From time to time I will be referring you to interesting content on this site.