The Art Collection in The Fife Arms

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.

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)

Tête de femme July 2, 1938 Oil on canvas 65 x 49.5 cm / 25 5/8 x 19 1/2 inches Reception

‘Tête de femme’ is a remarkably rare work: it is the only painting in which Picasso included one of his own poems within the composition. The subject is Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thèrése Walter, and Picasso’s portraits of her from the 1930s are considered among the artist’s best works. Picasso began writing poetry in 1935 when he was 54 years old, and during that year he devoted himself entirely to poetry. This radical change in his artistic activities coincided with two important life events: his stressful divorce from his first wife Olga, and Marie-Thèrése’s pregnancy with their daughter Maya. He resumed painting the following year in 1936. Picasso’s poem to the left of Marie-Thèrése translates as: drop by drop hardly pale blue dies between the claws of green almond on the rose trellis. This work was painted in July 1938, toward the end of his relationship with Marie-Thèrése and the beginning of his romance with Dora Maar. Despite this shift in their relationship, ‘Tête de femme’ still depicts Marie-Thèrése as radiant, beautiful, youthful and in a blaze of bright colours.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Nude and Man with a Pipe October 19, 1967 Oil on canvas 162 x 130 cm / 63 3/4 x 51 1/8 inches Drawing Room

‘Nude and Man with a Pipe’ is a late work by the masterful artist and depicts one of Picasso’s favourite themes: the relationship between man and woman. The female figure is modelled after Jacqueline Roque, the artist’s devoted second wife and muse for the last two decades of his life from 1954-1973. The male figure, here shown as a man with a pipe, is an iteration of the recurring musketeers of Picasso’s final years. Frequently the male characters that Picasso portrayed in his work — harlequins, bullfighters, minotaurs, and musketeers — were stand-ins for the artist himself. These iterations of the male figure were alter-egos that granted him access to a youthful vigour that had become less available in his old age. In ‘Nude and Man with a Pipe’, the male figure dons the characteristic black curls of the musketeers, but abandons the ruffled collar and ornate costume, depicted nude like his female counterpart. The pipe is also reminiscent of a flute, which Picasso occasionally included in his musketeer paintings.

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.

Joseph Farquharson (1846 – 1935)

The Silence of the Snow Oil on canvas 76.2 x 50.8 cm / 30 x 20 inches The Snug

Joseph Farquharson was a Scottish painter, widely known for his snowy wintry landscapes often featuring sheep, in the glowing light of dawn and dusk. Farquharson had a long a prolific career as an artist, painting in both oil and watercolour and often using the Farquharson family Estate of Finzean in rural Aberdeenshire as his subject matter and inspiration. Farquharson’s detailed and realistic style was achieved through his technique of painting en plein air (out of doors) often using a specially converted shepherd’s hut on wheels with its own stove and large window which could be moved around the local landscape. He also used a flock of ‘fake’ sheep to bolster some of his landscape scenes, and the popularity of these works earned him the nicknames of ‘Frozen Mutton Farquharson’ and ‘The Painting Laird’. The Silence of the Snow, is a wonderful example of Farquharson’s skill in rendering wintery scenes full of character and atmosphere, with the warm glow of the evening sky complimenting the rich tones of the snug and its fireside location.

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)

Untiled 2005 Fabric 45.7 x 35.6 cm / 18 x 14 inches Verso, stitched in red: ‘LB’

French-American artist Louise Bourgeois is one of the most influential figures in contemporary art. She worked across a wide range of creative disciplines: from drawing and painting to sculpture and textiles, with her subjects drawing on deep psychological themes such as fantasy, memory, sexuality and fear. Her remarkable career spanned seven decades, from the 1930s to her death in 2010, at the age of 99. The rich materiality of fibre and cloth was to be a source of lifelong inspiration for Bourgeois: from her childhood exposure to weaving and tapestry (both parents were tapestry weavers and restorers) to her compulsive hoarding of clothes and domestic linens throughout her adult life. These unique textile works, at once personal landscapes and personal portraits – provide a powerful insight into the artist’s desire to represent and repair her lived experience.

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.

Keith Tyson (b. 1969)

Still Life with Stars and Antlers (2020) Oil on aluminium, 244cm x 187.7cm 96 1/8 x 73 7/8 inches (unframed)

Keith Tyson is a British artist who incorporates systems of logic, scientific methodology and the phenomenon of chance into his work. He actively resists developing a singular style, preferring to embrace a diversity of stylistic and thematic influences ranging from poetry and mathematics, to history and computer coding. Seeing the world essentially as a vast source of interconnecting elements, Tyson’s imagery draws repeatedly from complexity of contemporary culture and society, art history and the artist’s direct experience of the world around him to create multi-layered and highly visual works with their own distinct beauty.

Art at the Fife Arms

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