William Scott

(Scotland, Northern Ireland 15 Feb 1913 – 28 Dec 1989)

Frying pan and eggs

Not on display
Further information

Regarding himself to be part of the tradition of French still life painting from Chardin to Braque, Scottish born artist William Scott saw still life painting as his "chief occupation". An interest in flat, abstract qualities of shape and form developed in his early work showing the influence of Cezanne and Picasso. Simple objects, painted from memory but permanently familiar, characterise his work and derive from the country life he knew so well. Scott once wrote: "I may begin a picture as a careful recording of a special sensation evoked clearly at a remembered place, and by a continuous process of work, obliteration, change, an expression of an entirely different thing grows, a 'figure into landscape' or into a still life, 'a man into a woman'. I have no theory. I am not concerned only with 'space construction'. What matters to me in a picture is the 'indefinable'." Nothing could be plainer and more "empty" than this still life, yet everything is exactly placed to give a dignity and resonance to the composition. Scott believed that the spaces and forms in painting must be "animated like living matter". Despite a strong preference for stark, elementary forms, a sensual eroticism pervades his work. Here the objects represented - the earthenware bowl, the frying pan, the onions, eggs and knife - have male and female connotations.

AGNSW Handbook, 1994

oil on canvas
63.5 x 76.2 cm stretcher; 80.5 x 92.7 x 7.8 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed u.r. black oil, "W SCOTT". Not dated.

Purchased 1952
Accession number
© Estate of William Scott
Hanover Gallery, London, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from the Hanover Gallery 1952