Overview

Elected ARSA: 16 March 1938 

Elected RSA: 2 August 1956 

The phrase ‘a legend in his own lifetime’ cannot be given to many. It is however, true about Hugh Adam Crawford during the thirties in the Glasgow School of Art. For a decade he dominated the Art scheme in Glasgow.

 

He had a charisma as a personality, great authority and total dedication to his dual function as artist and teacher. This was the period when many of his most important paintings were produced—brilliantly drawn and bathed in a colourful light opening up new vistas to the hardline mono-chromatic training of Grieffenhagen—a tradition brilliant in its time, and one that Crawford respected but changed.

 

Many students at Glasgow owe him much for this new direction. He underlined this by example with many outstanding works. The Johnesque ‘Mary Morrison’, the colourful ‘Ballet Dancer’ (Miss Bell) and the compositional ‘Tour de Force’, “Good Morning’ (Aberdeen Art Gallery). These paintings were inspirational to students in Glasgow at that time. They represented on hindsight, his peak as a painter, because regrettably he sacrificed his own Art for his students, fighting many lost causes on their behalf, nurturing many in their formative years, notably Joan Eardley and David Donaldson.

 

When he left Glasgow for Aberdeen and later Dundee to become an administrator and lost contact with the studio floor and day-to-day teaching intimacy with the creative process he seemed to lose identity.

 

He was a man who had to have that intimate contact because his personality expanded in that atmosphere to make him a legend in his own lifetime. He gave much to the Art scene in Scotland, a warm personality who wore, too often, his heart on his sleeve.

RSA Obituary by Ian Fleming. Transcribed from the 1982 RSA Annual Report

 

Further Images

Hugh Adam Crawford RSA (1898-1982) Sleeping Cat 

Oil on canvas laid on board, around 1965, 122.8 x 107cm

RSA Diploma Collection (Deposited, 1965) 2000.087