Francis-Campbell Boileau Cadell

(1883 - 1937)

Francis-Campbell Boileau Cadell was born in Edinburgh on 12th April 1883. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy where he received his early training in art. However his family moved in an artistic milieu, the godfather of his younger brother being Arthur Melville (1858 – 1904), the Glasgow School artist of whom Cadell’s parents were patrons. It was at Melville’s instigation that at the tender age of fifteen, in 1899, Cadell was sent to Paris to enrol at the Académie Julian. Here Cadell studied with William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), the renowned Salon painter of the latter half of the nineteenth century, but whose appeal to a younger generation of artists was strictly limited; nonetheless Cadell remained in Paris to 1903.

Samuel John Peploe, RSA (1871-1935) and John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961) who with Cadell were to form the nucleus of the Scottish Colourists were also in Paris. Peploe remained until 1912 meeting and consorting with the Avant-garde artists of the period, including Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and André Derain (1880-1954) and working in Paris during the Fauve period, Fergusson too remained until 1914, and for George Leslie Hunter (1877-1931), the fourth of ‘The Colourists’, Paris was to exert an extraordinary influence. It was the Post-Impressionists, and particularly Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and their use of colour that was to be so significant on these four Scottish artists. Cadell, following his sojourn in Paris and visits to Munich remained in Europe until 1909.

In 1910 he visited Venice at the behest of his friend and patron, Sir Patrick Ford (1880-1945), the resulting painting of this visit was exhibited at Aitken Dott in Edinburgh. In 1912 Cadell, with Patrick William Adam (1854-1929), founded the Society of Eight in Edinburgh a group which included Sir John Lavery (1856-1941).

In the immediate pre-war years the intense colours of the Post-Impressionists, particularly Cézanne and elements of Cubism were appearing in the works of Fergusson and Peploe. In 1913, following the 1910 Exhibition in London of Monet and the Post-Impressionists, organised by Roger Fry (1866-1934), the Society of Scottish Artists exhibited invited works by Cézanne, Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Auguste Herbin (1882-1960), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958), a further indication of the spread and acceptance of the radical new approach in painting.

During the First World War Cadell served with the 9th Royal Scots and the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Following the war Cadell painted in the Hebrides with Peploe, and, in 1923 exhibited in the first Colourist Exhibition at the Leicester Galleries. The following year Cadell and Peploe were joined by Fergusson in the exhibition at Galerie Barbazanges of Les Peintres de l’Ecosse Moderne.

Cadell continued to live and paint in Edinburgh through the 1920’s and 30’s. His later works moves away from the absorbent grounds and vibrant colours towards more tightly drawn subjects with softer colours and less of the Fauve vigour of the early 1920’s.

Cadell died in 1937 at the age of fifty-four, having made a significant contribution to Scottish painting both during his lifetime and as an exemplar for future generations.

His works can be found in museums in: Aberdeen; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Greenock; Kirkcaldy; London, Tate Gallery and Detroit, Fleming Collection.