Art is central to The Fife Arms experience; in keeping with its Victoriana-style, the moment that you step inside, the hotel presents an eclectic collection of artworks comprising pieces from the 19th century to the present day.
The Art Collection in The Fife Arms
H.M Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901)
A stag shot by John Brown, 6 October, 1874 pencil and watercolour heightened with touches of white, on paper watermark J.Whatman/ Turkey Mill/18 ~ 25.4 x 19 cm ~ Reception
H.M. Queen Victoria was a proficient and studious amateur artist, beginning drawing lessons from the age of eight. She initially copied drawings, as instructed by her tutor, but she soon started to sketch not only the various members of the Household at Kensington Palace and visiting relations, but the scenery and locations that she observed on annual holidays away from London. What had begun as a childhood amusement became a source of lifelong pleasure which she was later able to share with Prince Albert, who also took pleasure in drawing. Sketching became a favourite occupation, particularly on the royal couple’s summer visits to the Highlands of Scotland.
Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)
Mousquetaire assis, 23 April 1967 Oil on canvas ~ 116 x 89 cm ~ Drawing Room
Pablo Picasso was a prolific and tireless innovator of art forms, he contributed significantly to a number of artistic movements— Cubism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism. ‘Mousquetaire assis’ presents the quintessential figure of the musketeer. Painted in the last decade of his life, when Picasso was able to travel only locally, and his vaunted sexual powers were on the wane. Picasso transformed himself into the brave, adventurous and virile musketeer, clad in ornate finery, ready for audacious escapades, romantic frolics and heroic accomplishments.
Mark Bradford & Robert Glasper
Apollo/Still Shining, 2015 Steinway Spirio player piano programmed with Robert Glasper’s score, ‘Still Shining’, mixed media 101.6 x 146.6 x 170.1 cm (closed) 175.2 x 146.6 x 170.1 cm (open) Reception
Mark Bradford is a Los Angeles based artist. ‘Apollo/Still Shining’, was a collaboration with the piano maker Steinway & Sons and the composer Robert Glasper. Bradford used bleach and translucent squares of paper, used to wrap hair when getting a permanent curl treatment on the surface of the piano. Burning and bleaching the papers he collaged them onto the surface to give the piano a flaming appearance. Bradford explained, ‘My use of paper and bleach in the work originates from my time working as a hairdresser at my mother’s salon in Leimert Park, Los Angeles […] Here, I am interested in the pattern of flux created by this bleaching effect.
Robert Burns’ Chimney-Piece
Removed From Montrave House, Leven, Fife Attributed To Gerrard Robinson, Newcastle Carved overall with depictions of various scenes from the work of Robert Burns, 19th Century 300 x 65 x 362 cm, internal aperture 125cm wide, 125cm high ~ Reception
The chimney-piece was purchased by Sir John Gilmour, 1st Baronet DL (1845-1920) of Montrave House, Leven, Fife. By family tradition, it was thought to have been carved in Newcastle or Northumberland. It was later attributed to Gerrard Robinson after the appearance of a photograph of it in The Sunday Post newspaper on 22nd January 1995. This monumental chimney-piece depicts various scenes from the works of Robert Burns.
Martin Creed (b. 1968)
Work No. 1094, 2011 Photographic print Edition of 3 + 1 AP 163.5 x 298.5 cm ~ Corridor leading to library
Martin Creed is an acclaimed UK contemporary artist and 2001 Turner Prize winner. Creed works in an array of media including sculpture, painting, installation, choreography, and music. Questioning the definition of art with a playful, deadpan and logical approach to conceptual minimalism. Creed favours opposites. Work No. 1094 features an Irish Wolfhound and Chihuahua – opposites indeed. Creed found a wonderful humour in the pair, describing them as ‘a perfect sculpture’. For the artist the two dogs represented ‘thinking’ the small dog and ‘not thinking’ the large dog.
Circle Of Pieter Brueghel The Younger (1564 – 1636)
A grand village kermesse with a performance of the farce Een Cluyte Van Plaeyerwater (‘A Clod From A Plaeyerwater’) and a religious procession Oil on canvas ~ 153.5 x 286.5 cm ~ The Clunie Dining Room
Pieter Brueghel the Younger was a Flemish painter known for his depictions of peasant life in rural settings. Like his father, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the artist painted compositions filled with details that often included multiple narratives happening simultaneously. Suffering financial difficulties throughout his career, the artist often made inexpensive copies of his father’s paintings to support himself. Despite this, he was admired by his peers which included Anthony van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubens. ‘A Village Kermesse With A Performance Of The Farce Een Cluyte Van Plaeyerwater (‘A Clod From A Plaeyerwater’), And A Religious Procession’ depicts at its centre villagers gathering around a makeshift theatre to watch the denouement of the farce, when the cuckolded husband reveals himself to his unfaithful wife and her lover, the local priest.
Archibald Thorburn (1860 – 1935)
Blackgame in the glen, 1911 pencil and watercolour heightened with bodycolour and touches of gum arabic on paper laid on board ~ 76.3 x 55.3 cm ~ The Snug / Various other examples throughout The Fife Arms
Archibald Thorburn was arguably the finest bird painter which Britain has ever produced. He was the fifth son of Robert Thorburn, a leading miniature painter of the day. Thorburn received much of his early training from his father, whose insistence upon anatomical accuracy and careful attention to detail stood him in good stead.
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)
Adler (Eagle) (322-1), 1972 Oil on canvas ~ 70 x 50 cm ~ The Clunie Dining Room
Gerhard Richter is a German artist, known for a stylistically varied exploration of painting. In the early 1960s, Richter began to create photorealist copies of black-andwhite photographs rendered in a range of greys, and innovated a blurred effect in which areas appear smeared or softened – paradoxically reproducing photographic effects in painting. In this way, his work posed questions about the nature of photography, identity, and the way images of the real world are perceived and understood. ‘Adler’ addresses ideas of imperial power through the eagle, the powerful, all seeing bird of prey.
Man Ray (1890 – 1976)
Elsa Schiaparelli, 1931 Gelatin silver print mounted on cardboard ~ Elsa‘s
Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Man Ray adopted his pseudonym in 1909 and would become one of the key figures of Dada and Surrealism. Man Ray’s photographic works are considered his most profound achievement, particularly his portraits, fashion photographs, and technical experiments with the medium, such as solarization and rayographs. ‘I do not photograph nature,’ he once said. ‘I photograph my visions.’ The series of photographs displayed in Elsa’s Cocktail Bar portray the bar’s namesake, Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, whose bravado and unrestrained originality was influenced by her friendships with Surrealist artists of the period, most notably Salvador Dali. The photographs were taken by Man Ray when Elsa was first beginning to become well known in Paris as a trail-blazing couturier, with Man Ray turning her into an advertisement for her own designs.
Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010)
Spider, 1994 Bronze, silver nitrate and brown patina, granite Edition of 6 + 1 AP ~ 274.3 x 457.2 x 378.4 cm ~ Internal Courtyard
Louise Bourgeois was a French artist who emigrated to New York. ‘Spider’ is one of the first large scale works from Bourgeois’s well known series. The spider is both a predator and a protector, a sinister threat and an industrious repairer, providing both safety and entrapment. Bourgeois has explained, ‘The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was a tapestry woman. My mother was my best friend. She was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and useful as a Spider.’ The spider related to both her parents, who worked as weavers, running a business dedicated to restoring tapestries. However, the image of her mother was fraught with memories of her father’s infidelity, which pained the then young Bourgeois. The spider’s looming form evokes the emotional traumas and entanglements of Bourgeois’s childhood that never left her consciousness.
Francis Picabia (1879 – 1953)
Espagnole, 1924 Watercolour, Gouache and pencil on paper ~ 64.3 x 49.2 cm ~ Elsa’s
French-born Picabia was a versatile artist, working in various styles. He experimented with Impressionism and Cubism before moving to Dadism, influenced by his friend Marcel Duchamp. Picabia had a taste for paradox and the absurd. He was never afraid to court unconventionality and his works often had hidden ironic meanings. This delicate work on paper revisits a favourite subject of Picabia’s, the ‘Espagnoles’, depicting beautiful Spanish women or elegant Toreadors. Picabia’s fascination with this subject no doubt stemmed from his own personal heritage, born to a French mother and Spanish father, he had a particular predilection for Spanish motifs.
Hans Bellmer (1902 – 1975)
Nous la suivons à pas lents (We Follow Her with Slow Steps), 1937 (printed 1963) Hand-coloured gelatin silver print mounted on original masonite Unique variant ~ 148 x 100 cm ~ Elsa‘s
Hans Bellmer was a German Surrealist artist. He created an emotional, intellectual and erotically charged body of work. Bellmer is best known for a series of photographs of two life-sized adolescent female dolls which he constructed and photographed between 1934 and 1938. Bellmer’s ‘Nous la suivons à pas lents (We Follow Her with Slow Steps)’ is a black-and-white photograph, with delicate hand coloured hues of pale yellow/green and pink.
Lucian Freud (1992 – 2011)
Child Portrait (Annie), 1962 Oil on canvas ~ 81.3 x 71.1 0cm ~ Reception
Lucian Freud, grandson of Sigmund Freud, moved to Britain in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism, he went on to become one of the greatest painters of the human figure. Freud worked only from life, translating his direct perceptions onto the canvas, resulting in portraits that are honest, tender, and psychologically complex. ‘Child Portrait (Annie)’ is a portrait of his eldest daughter, with his first wife Kitty Garman.
Keith Tyson (b. 1969)
Still Life with Rose Vase and Seashell, 2015 – 2017 Mixed media on aluminium 320 x 198 x 2.1 cm ~ Main stairwell 2nd floor
Keith Tyson is a British artist who incorporates systems of logic, scientific methodology and chance into his work. In ‘Still Life with Rose Vase and Seashell’ Tyson tackled a classic floral still life composition, one that has been used since antiquity. In a similar way to a florist combining flowers for purely aesthetic reasons, Tyson chooses assorted painting styles. This provides a conceptual framework to operate within and a philosophical and aesthetic manner with which to reflect on the nature of painting itself.