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Colin THOMS 1912 - 1997

Biography

With paintings reminiscent of the dreamy canvases of Paul Klee and Joan Miró, Colin Thoms carved his own niche in the field of abstract art. In his formative years, he fell under the influence of the Scottish Colourists at Edinburgh College of Art, studying life drawing under Peploe. In 1934, he studied at the Slade School in London, and in 1935 used a travelling scholarship to study across Europe.

Thoms first exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1928, and continued to exhibit there throughout his career. In 1949, he was elected President of the Society of Scottish Artists, and first met Anne Redpath with whom he would become close friends.

After World War Two, Thoms took up teaching at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, where he worked for 25 years until his retirement. While the painting in the Gracefield Collection is clearly abstract, Thoms did not explore this style until relatively late in his career, as it was only after visiting a Miró exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1963 that he became a convert.

Characterised by vivid colours and an overwhelming freedom of brushstroke and form, Thoms' work is awash with personal symbolism as well as wider resonance. Like his contemporary Alan Davie, Thoms consistently referenced his own personal bank of images, which he placed to mysterious and symbolic effect throughout his abstract paintings.