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 Samuel John Peploe  (1871 - 1935)

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Lived/Active: Scotland/France      Known for: post-impressionist floral still life painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Samuel John Peploe (27 January 1871 – 11 October 1935) was a Scottish Post-Impressionist* painter, noted for his still life works and for being one of the group of four painters that became known as the Scottish Colourists*.  The other colourists were John Duncan Fergusson, Francis Cadell and Leslie Hunter.

Born in Edinburgh, he studied at the Royal Scottish Academy schools from 1893 to 1894, and then at the Academie Julian* and Academie Colarossi* in Paris, where he shared a room with painter Robert Brough.  He visited Holland in 1895, returning with reproductions of work by Rembrandt and Frans Hals.  From 1901, he undertook painting trips to Northern France and the Hebrides with his friend J. D. Fergusson, another of the Scottish Colourists.

Inspired by the bright sunlight, he experimented with the bold use of colour, and the influence of the rustic realism of French painters, and of the modernist Glasgow Boys*, is evident in his landscapes.

Peploe moved to Paris in 1910, a period which saw him concentrate increasingly on still life and landscape painting.  His still life works show the influence of Manet, with combinations of fluid brushwork, thick impasto* and dark backgrounds with strong lighting.  Returning to Scotland in 1912, he went on regular painting trips with friends to many parts of the country, and during the 1920s he spent several summers with Francis Cadell, another Scottish Colourist, painting in Iona.

Peploe was strongly influenced by French painting throughout his life. Although his work never became overly abstract, it was notable for its use of strong colour, tight composition, and meticulous execution. He died in Edinburgh in 1935.

A painting which might or might not be by Peploe (the question is only resolved at the end of the book) plays a central role in the successful novel 44 Scotland Street by the Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith.  A grandson of the painter makes a brief appearance in the book. A Peploe painting also plays a small role in the novel Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher.


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