Our work of the week is William Scott’s Message Obscure I which is now on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in ‘Being Modern’. For the first time the work will be displayed alongside Message Obscure II from the Fitzwilliam Museum collection (both 1965).
William Scott rejected the pure abstraction that he had seen in works by American painters such as Jackson Pollock and admired the still life paintings of Paul Cezanne. However, he often reduced his forms to simple shapes and colours and encouraged the viewer to find their own meanings in these ‘obscure’ paintings.
Scott was born in Greenock, Scotland. After training at the Belfast School of Art, in 1932 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy. While in the city, he became associated with Abstract Expressionism. After war service he moved to Somerset, but kept in touch with those artists who were developing an abstract style in St. Ives, notably Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Roger Hilton.
An exhibition of works by Heron, Lanyon and Scott is currently on display at the Heong Gallery, Cambridge.