A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

John BELLANY 1942 - 2013

RA CBE

Biography

John Bellany was born at Port Seton in 1942 into a family of fishermen and boat builders

John Bellany's paintings confronted issues of mortality, evil and the individual's capacity for survival. His career was dominated by the circumstances of his own turbulent life: the act of painting, in which he employed a personal language at once realist, expressionist and surrealist, enabled him to overcome alcoholism and survive several near-death episodes

John Bellany's website

John Bellany’s art was often inspired by the sea and can be viewed as profoundly religious in nature

Throughout his career he has painted elemental allegories encompassing the complexities of the human condition. Following studies at the Edinburgh College of Art, he moved to London in 1965 to study at the Royal College, his vision and iconography becoming broader.

In the Seventies, when his personal life was in turmoil, he embarked on a near-fatal journey of self-destruction, which is reflected in the angst-ridden images in the paintings of the period. This was further reinforced in 1967 by a traumatic visit to the remains of the Buchenwald concentration camp. But Bellany’s life voyage has proved every bit as perilous as the sea voyages of his fishing ancestors - in the Eighties he successfully underwent a liver transplant, which inspired a remarkable series of pictures started, to the astonishment of his surgeon, within hours of regaining consciousness from the operation.

His towering example has inspired a new pride in Scottish artists; a fact duly recognised when he received the CBE. His paintings are in the collections of major museums and art galleries throughout the world, including the National Galleries of Scotland, The Tate Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

John Bellany | A Passion for Life: a major exhibition marking John Bellany’s 70th birthday, at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, contained paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints from all the key periods of the artist’s career and ran from 17 November 2012 − 27 January 2013. This was to be an apposite epitaph to this exceptional painter

Obituaries of this fine Scottish artist can be viewed by clicking onto any of the links below:

The Guardian
The Telegraph
Royal Academy of Arts