John Bellany, CBE, RA, who died in 2013, is one of Britain’s most original contemporary artists.
Raised in a God- fearing fishing community on Scotland’s east coast, his life was raucous, perilous and stormy as the North Sea itself.
His work, with its bold primary colours and unsettling marine imagery, is unmistakable. Battered boats, gnarled fisherfolk and weird creatures of the deep are constant features - as are the women he adored, feared and regularly disappointed.
A Scottish cultural hero, renowned for his lust for life and apparently insatiable appetite for alcohol, Bellany had come close to death more than once. His funeral was attended by hundreds of admirers, from the highest to the lowest of Scottish society.
Damien Hirst and David Bowie are notable collectors of John Bellany’s work, which can also be seen in Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum in New York, as well as leading collections in his native Scotland and worldwide.
More about John Bellany at www.bellany.com
Illustration: Portrait of John Bellany - etching by Stan Smith (courtesy of Adrian Bartlett)