Alexander Jamieson is not a household name and yet his work displays all the hallmarks of a great colourist. Born in Glasgow in 1873, he was living in Paris at the turn of the 20th Century and finding inspiration in the avante-garde art movements of the time. Whilst in Paris, he met and was influenced by many of the Impressionist artists working in the city at the time, particularily the work of Manet and his ‘alla prima’ (wet-on-wet) technique.
His work is largely unknown; not much information exists online about the artist and his wife, Gertrude ‘Biddy’ Macdonald. They married in 1907 and settled in a studio in the Cromwell Road, South Kensington. After the war, they moved with their daughter Katherine to a cottage in the village of Weston Turville in the Vale of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. They ran a series of summer art classes both at home and in France and Belgium although there is not much recorded information about these summer sessions.
His work perfectly captures light and shade through the layered scenes of his compositions. Swift and large brushstrokes manage to capture fleeting moments in parks and gardens. He focused primarily on landscapes and outdoor scenes, only rarely producing portraits.
With very little detail, his large dabs of paint manage to capture the essence of every scene. He had an extremely sensitive ability to create depth through contrast, dotting the canvas with sparks of paint to give his work a lively impression.
Sir John Lavery could not have put it better:
He dipped his brush in light and air … Many a time … I have been struck by his wonderful perception and clear judgement, his keen sense of colour and composition, allied with masterly technique, which enabled him to convey his impression in the simplest language.
Alexander Jamieson died aged 63, in London on 2 May 1937.