MacColl, Dugald Sutherland (1859-1948) by Scholes, Robert

Dugald Sutherland MacColl (1859 – 1948) From the Artfund 100: [He] was born and educated in Scotland, but spent most of his working life in London, writing art criticism for the Spectator, Saturday Review and Week-end Review. He painted mostly in watercolour and exhibited with the New English Art Club. His book Nineteenth Century Art (1902), helped direct attention away from the Royal Academy and towards the Glasgow school and the New English Art Club. The book revealed an intelligent understanding of Impressionist theory and practice and helped establish MacColl as an interpreter of this movement. MacColl emphasized technique and painting method over representational content, but he could not accept Post-Impressionism and all his life remained hostile to CĂ©zanne’s work. He remained Roger Fry’s most serious critic. From the Tate Archive Having originally studied for the church, MacColl became interested in art after meeting artists and writers living near his home in Kensington. He eventually abandoned his theological studies to teach art history and went on to work as a critic for the influential Saturday Review. He was perhaps an unlikely choice for Keeper of a national collection in that he had become renowned for his fierce attacks on the art establishment, not only criticizing the Royal Academy but also Henry Tate’s Collection and the pictures of the Chantrey Bequest, which had become part of the Tate’s Collection. However his astute scholarly mind and willingness to stand up for his beliefs made him invaluable to the Tate in its early years. He strengthened the Collection on many fronts: re-hanging the Galleries to show the existing Collection at its best, strengthening the holdings of Pre-Raphaelite work and drawing up a list of desirable additions to the Collection including works by Wilson Steer, Augustus John, and Walter Sickert. The University of Glasgow library has a collection of MacColl material described as follows: Some 6,000 letters to and from Dugald Sutherland MacColl (1859-1948), Keeper of the Wallace Collection and of the Tate Gallery, art critic, poet and founder of the National Art Collections Fund. Includes correspondence with many of the leading figures in the literary and artistic world between 1880 and 1940, e.g. W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, Max Beerbohm, H.G. Wells, Charles Ricketts, Augustus John, Auguste Rodin, Roger Fry and Walter Crane. The archive also includes MacColl’s copies of some 70 exhibition catalogues. Presented in 1955 by RenĂ© MacColl, son of D.S. MacColl. He was a member of the New English Art Club and published, in 1945, a prize-winning biography of his fellow member, the painter Philip Wilson Steer.

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