George Cuthbert Watson (1893-1965)
A Painter and sculptor educated at Edinburgh College of Art Watson was a member of the 1922 Group. A founding tenant and early pre-cursor to the Edinburgh School, the Group centred around a core of nine fellow Edinburgh students that included William Crozier, William Gillies, William McTaggart and John Maxwell. Many members had won travel scholarships to Paris, particularly the atelier of André Lhote. They aimed to champion the new ideas of French modernism they had absorbed in France against those of the traditional academic institutions of the Edinburgh establishment. Their exhibitions were held mainly at the New Gallery in Shandwick Place, an artist run space that was home to the Society of Eight founded by amongst others Lavery and the Scottish Colourists. The 1922 Group showed together for nearly a decade by which time many of its members were themselves leading lights of the Edinburgh art world. George Watson is now all but forgotten but this work is an extraordinary example of early twentieth Scottish painting by a young painter brimming with talent and potential. It begs the question – from such a beginning, how does one young man grow into a Gillies, a Crozier or a Maxwell and another drift into complete obscurity?
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