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The Scottish Modern Arts Association, from its first meeting in 1906, was a product of the vitality, energy and internationalism in progressive sections of Scottish Art at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. The Association was set up to acquire, exhibit and further publicise contemporary art from Scotland. The ultimate aim was “the furtherance of any scheme which shall have for its objective the promotion of Scottish Art”. Modernism is the label that covers that period of extraordinary developments in science, technology and social rights that helped redefine human understanding, and when all of the arts sought new ways to come to terms with a changing reality. The Association’s selection, over more than fifty years, gives us many key works from the many forms of Modernism explored by artists working in Scotland then, and allows us to follow its evolution. An equally fascinating evolution can be traced in the reception modernist art received from the general public, art dealers, art historians, critics, collectors and fellow artists.

Kenneth Dingwall is a painter, and Emeritus professor, who lives and works in Edinburgh. His works are in the collections of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum USA, British Council, Arts council of Great Britain, Saatchi Collection and other public and private collections.


The Scottish Modern Arts Association and the Nature of Scottish Modernism