The same generation of the Glasgow Boys, Mackie was an innovator and tastemaker, finely attuned to artistic innovation in France and Scotland. In the early 1890s, he forged ties with the French Nabis Group, inspired by Paul Gauguin, whom he met, and he brought back to Scotland works by the symbolist, Serusier and the unknown, Vuillard. He was a great encourager of young artists, such as Peploe, Cadell and Fergusson, and as a founder member of the Society of Scottish Artists encouraged the acquisition of their work for Scottish national collections. This painting probably dates from an extended visit to Venice in 1908.
Charles Hodge Mackie
Oil on canvas
50.8 × 66 cm
58 × 71 cm
Signed bottom right
Charles Hodge Mackie RSA RSW, 1862-1920
Born in Aldershot, Surrey, Mackie was brought up in Edinburgh, where he trained at the Royal Scottish Academy's Life Class. His early painting is founded on the move to realism, exemplified by the Glasgow Boy's work, and he was friendly with E. A. Hornel and several other Glasgow Boys. However, exposure to French Post-Impressionism through meeting Paul Serusier, Gauguin and Vuilliard turned him towards Symbolism. He became involved with Patrick Geddes and the Celtic Revival, executing murals in Geddes's Edinburgh flat and contributing to his periodical The Evergreen. Around 1905 this Symbolist vein ran out and Mackie adopted a more conventional Impressionist style. He was also a skilled printmaker.