Craigie Aitchison, A Life in Colour by Cate Haste

Cragie Aitchison, A Life in Colour by Cate Haste

GALLERY TALK: Wednesday 4 March, 2.30pm
Award winning, biographer, historian and film-maker, Cate Haste will talk about her new, fully illustrated study of the life and work of Scottish artist, Craigie Aitchison (1926-2009) entitled ‘Craigie Aitchison: A Life in Colour ‘. This will accompany our special exhibition of Craigie Aitchison paintings and prints 3 –15 March 2015. This is the first book to cover the entire oeuvre of a painter whose distinctive and powerfully evocative style has earned him widespread critical acclaim and public popularity. Haste draws on original documents, family archives, letters, published interviews with the painters and new interviews with those who knew the artist to explore the relationship of his life to his work.

  • The talk will last approximately 50 minutes.
  • A book signing will follow the talk, with drinks in the gallery.
  • Tickets £10 per person.
  • All proceeds will go to the Prospect Hospice Savernake Appeal (see info below)
  • Book in advance – places are limited.



Book Review

Craigie Aitchison – a life in colour || Cate Haste Craigie Aitchison arrived at the Slade in 1952 along with others who had studied art for longer, or whose studies had been interrupted by wartime service. In spite of his relative youth, however, he was one of the Six Young Contemporaries who exhibited at the Gimpel Fils gallery in 1954 and, the following year, was award a British Council scholarship to study in Italy. There, he discovered the exuberance of Catholic churches and Quattrocento frescoes that were to influence his later work. Aitchison is central to the art scene of the later twentieth century, exhibiting alongside figures such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Euan Uglow. His work is characterised by his use of colour and shape (hence the book’s subtitle) and his compositions are simple, frequently bare and with the main subject often almost overshadowed by a bold background that sets them almost as negative shapes within a strongly rectangular form. Edges, even the edges of the painting itself, become significant. Cate Haste’s book is more than just a biography or an account of the work of her subject, being much more a complete account of a man of whom a great deal demands to be said. Drawing on original documents, family archives, letters and published interviews, she draws together the strands of Aitchison’s life, detailing his early development in Edinburgh, through his time at the Slade and in Italy to his burgeoning career in London and his place in and influence on the canon of the contemporary scene. The book is also generously and thoughtfully illustrated, with an explanation and analysis of how Aitchison worked and how his style developed. It’s about as complete as you could want. Review from Artbookreview


About Prospect Hospice & the Savernake Hospital Appeal

Prospect Hospice brings care, comfort and confidence to thousands of patients diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and their families in the community of Swindon, Marlborough and north Wiltshire. Last year Prospect Hospice cared for more than 5,500 patients and family members at the hospice in Wroughton, in patients’ own homes and through our palliative care team based at Great Western Hospital in Swindon. All care for patients is provided without charge.

Prospect Hospice now needs your help to raise the final £75,000 to bring more of our care to people of Marlborough, Pewsey and the neighbouring villages.


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