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 James McBey  (1883 - 1959)

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Lived/Active: United States/United Kingdom      Known for: etcher, genre-war-Egypt-Venice

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Ad Code: 3
James McBey
from Auction House Records.
"The Rising Moon, Venice"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Born in Newburgh near Aberdeen, at the age of 15 James McBey attended evening classes at Gray's School of Art and taught himself etching, building his own press. At an early age he moved to London to prepare for a one man show at Goupil's which was a great success. It was right after his show at Groupil's that McBey traveled to Morocco with James Kerr Lawson, beginning a long association with North Africa.

In 1916 McBey enlisted in the military and his pictures of Somme led to his appointment as an Official War Artist. In 1917 he was sent to Egypt and during an intensely active two years he produced some 300 watercolors of the campaign in Egypt and Palestine.

In 1929 he visited America, returning in 1930 when he married Marguerite Loeb from Philadelphia. He introduced his wife to Morocco in 1932 and they bought a house near Tangier, later buying a second property in Marrakesh. McBey felt at home in North Africa and many of his best works were executed there. During the Second World War the McBeys lived in America, and despite immigration problems he was able to work, but in 1946 they returned to Tangier where McBey continued to work, with regular trips to America and Britain, until his death in 1959.

McBey's etchings are varied in subject and treatment, but all reveal his excellent and sensitive draughtsmanship, and his sense of light. His watercolors, pastels and oils convey a very personal impressionistic style. Apart from the North African desert, he was particularly good at depicting water scenes and cities like Venice and Rotterdam.

In 1936, James McBey exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art at the Dallas Art Exposition. He was one of a group of important modern painters of the time.

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

E. Benezit, vol. VII, pp. 37-38
Index of Artists, Mallett, p. 283
Dictionary of Scottish Painters 1600-1960, by Paul Harris & Julian Halsby, pp124-125
Scottish Art, 1460-1990, Duncan Macmullan

Roughton Galleries, Dallas, Texas
Courtesy to AskART from Brian Roughton

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