A forgotten Edinburgh artist will have a major show in his name for the first time in 100 years.

Charles H. Mackie: Colour and Light aims to take a fresh look at the work of the painter and print maker who was a contemporary and friend of the influential Glasgow Boys band of artists.

His work is considered “overlooked and neglected” with the exhibition at Edinburgh City Arts Centre to cast a fresh eye on his contribution to the Scottish art scene

More than 50 of his works have been pulled together for the show from both private and public collections with the exhibition to coincide with the centenary of his death this year.  Curator Dr Helen Scott said the exhbition was the culmination of “many years of detective work”.

“All in all, the exhibition is a wonderful, rare opportunity to celebrate Mackie’s life, connections and achievements,” she added.

Mackie biographer and researcher Pat Clark said the exhibition was the first major public retrospective since the artist’s Memorial Exhibition in 1921 and was a “long-overdue” tribute to the artist.

She said: “Charles H. Mackie RSA RSW was a well-respected artist in his day and well-connected in artistic circles in France and Scotland. The works on display trace his development and responses to the places he visited and the people he met. The exhibition will draw together all the stages of Mackie’s life and career, from early Scottish landscapes in Kirkcudbright to the magnificent large-scale oils executed in Venice. Colour and Light will be a long-overdue tribute to one of Scotland’s outstanding and unjustly neglected artists.

“The exhibition will showcase this achievement. It will bring me untold joy to share my passion for Mackie’s art with those who visit the City Art Centre between May and October.”

Born in Aldershot and brought up in Edinburgh, Mackie trained at the Trustees Academy School of Art.

He remained based in Edinburgh throughout his career, although he travelled often and embraced an international outlook. He worked across an impressive range of media, not only producing oil paintings and watercolours, but also murals, woodblock prints, book illustrations and sculpture.

French Symbolism, the Celtic Revival movement and the landscapes of his European travels were among his inspirations.

 

Picardy Poplars by Charles Hodge Mackie. Painted in 1902. Courtesy of Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

 

 

Charles H. Mackie, La Danse du Village, c.1918. The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture

 
Mackie was well-connected and respected in contemporary artistic circles. He was close friends with E.A. Hornel and other members of the Glasgow Boys, and he met Paul Gauguin, Édouard Vuillard and the Nabis while working in France. In the 1890s he was commissioned by Patrick Geddes to produce murals for Ramsay Garden in Edinburgh’s Old Town, as well as illustrations for the pioneering journal The Evergreen.

He was a founding member and Chairman of the Society of Scottish Artists, and was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1917. He exhibited his work widely, both in Scotland and further afield. However, despite his many achievements, he has always been treated as a peripheral figure in the story of Scottish art, organisers of the exhibition said.

Charles H. Mackie: Colour and Light opens on 16 May 2020 at Edinburgh City Arts Centre, Market Street, and runs until October.