1926 - 1998
David McClure RSA, RSW, RGI
David McClure's art sits firmly in that well-documented tradition of Scottish Painting characterized by strong colour, bold, confident handling of paint under-pinned by assured, often lyrical drawing.
He was one of a group of highly regarded, young painters who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in the late 1940s and early 1950s and who form the second generation of the Edinburgh School. This group included Elizabeth Blackadder, John Houston, David Michie, James Cummings and William Baillie. Scotland at that time saw a remarkable concentration of artistic talent, much of it centered on Edinburgh with its strong Art College staff (William Gillies, John Maxwell, Robert Henderson Blyth), and the annual exhibitions of the RSA, RSW, SSA and SSWA. Furthermore many of these established artists such as Anne Redpath and William MacTaggart were also regular exhibitors at The Scottish Gallery (Aitken Dott) as were younger artists Joan Eardley and Robin Philipson.
In the later fifties and early sixties McClure and some of his college contemporaries were to join them in Dott's stable of artists. Previously he had been studying English and History at Glasgow University but after his War Service he enrolled in Edinburgh, first on the Fine Art course studying both History of Art as well Drawing and Painting at the Art College. After a year he moved solely to the college and to painting.
His landscape and still life work from the 1950s from Spain, Millport, Florence and Sicily show an amalgamation of influences from Redpath, Gillies, Henderson Blyth and William Wilson but in the early 1960s the work of John Maxwell (and through him Chagall and Redon) sees a shift of intent and approach with works of a dream-like narrative often featuring his daughter Paola or his wife Joyce. (Paola, Owl and Doll or Figure and Flowers)
Throughout his mature oeuvre, the work of Post-Impressionist masters, Matisse, Gauguin, Braque, were a further source of inspiration as he developed; in McClure's eyes, as with so many artists, the art of the past was seen as a rich heritage to be periodically and knowingly dipped into for material to fertilise his own imaginative picture-making, celebratory, as it was, of the good things in life and of nature.
He taught at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, recruited by Alberto Morrocco who remained a life-long friend and who he succeeded as Head of Painting in 1983. Here he is talked of with affection by generations of students as an inspirational and committed teacher.