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Mackintosh, Charles Rennie Paintings (visual works)
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Autumn

Bound in volume, The Magazine, November 1894. 'Behind a stylised tree stands another of Mackintosh's mysterious female figures, but this is the first one to appear that is not meticulously drawn. Only the head is shown in any detail, and the shape of the body is hidden by a voluminous cloak from which not even its limbs appear. This figure was to be repeated many times, becoming more and more stereotyped until, with the banners designed for the Turin Exhibition in 1902, the head is the only recognisably human part of a figure with a twelve-foot long, pear shaped torso. In 1895-96, Mackintosh was to develop this drawing into a poster for the Scottish Musical Review (Howarth, p1, 9F). The same cloaked figure appears with similar formal emblems at the ends of the branches of the bush.' (Roger Billcliffe).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Cabbages in an Orchard

From The Magazine, April 1894. The long text by Mackintosh which accompanies this watercolour in The Magazine (reproduced in full in Billcliffe's catalogue) suggests that he had already encountered public hostility to his work, possibly even from fellow students, on the grounds of incomprehensibility.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Fairies

Mackintosh's style here is the closest he came to that of Margaret and Frances Macdonald, but his figures are always more substantial and the subject matter less whimsical than theirs.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Lunch, Original Refectory, GSA 42/43

This item was lost in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014. GSA students and staff featured in this work include (from left to right), amongst others: Harry McLean, GSA student and conservator (seated at table bottom left, resting elbow on table); Hugh Adam Crawford, GSA staff, Drawing and Painting department (standing, front-facing, slightly left of centre); Joan Eadley, GSA student and artist (centre, standing, facing left); John Miller, GSA staff, Drawing & Painting department (slightly right of centre, facing right, carrying portfolio under right arm); Margot Sandeman, GSA student and artist (slightly right of centre, facing right, arms folded, in conversation with Cordelia Oliver); Cordelia Oliver, GSA student, art critic and journalist (slightly right of centre, facing left, in conversation with Margot Sandeman); Margaret McGavin, GSA student and artist (right of centre, adjacent to Cordelia Oliver, front-facing but looking right, in conversation with another female student); David Donaldson, GSA staff, Drawing and Painting department (right of centre, left-facing, positioned between Margaret McGavin and the female student she is talking to); Benno Schotz, GSA staff, Modelling and Sculpture department and sculptor (right hand side, facing left); Timothy Powell, GSA staff, Graphic Design department (right hand side, in the foreground, front-facing, wearing a suit).

Gardner, Tom

Mackintosh Art, Design and Architecture Collection

  • MC
  • Collection
  • c1891-2018

Items in The Glasgow School of Art's Mackintosh collection include: furniture, watercolours, drawings, architectural drawings, design drawings, sketchbooks, metalwork and photographs.

Mackintosh studied evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art between 1883-1894, winning numerous student prizes and competitions including the prestigious Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship in 1890. Mackintosh and his contemporaries also produced four volumes of a publication called "The Magazine" during their time as students, which included examples of their writing and artworks. GSA Archives and Collections hold Mackintosh's Italian Sketchbook, as well as all four volumes of The Magazine, all of which can be browsed on our catalogue.

The majority of Mackintosh's three-dimensional work was created with the help of a small number of patrons within a short period of intense activity between 1896 and 1910. Francis Newbery was headmaster of The Glasgow School of Art during this time and was supportive of Mackintosh's ultimately successful bid to design a new art school building in 1896 - his most prestigious undertaking. For Miss Kate Cranston he designed a series of Glasgow tearoom interiors and for the businessmen William Davidson and Walter Blackie, he was commissioned to design large private houses, 'Windyhill' in Kilmacolm and 'The Hill House' in Helensburgh. In Europe, the originality of Mackintosh's style was quickly appreciated and in 1900 he was invited to participate at the 8th Vienna Secession.

In 1902 Mackintosh was invited to participate at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art in Turin and later at exhibitions in Moscow and Berlin. Despite this success Mackintosh's work met with considerable indifference at home. Few private clients were sufficiently sympathetic to want his 'total design' of house and interior and he was incapable of compromise.

By 1914 Mackintosh had despaired of ever receiving true recognition in Glasgow and together with his wife Margaret Macdonald he moved, temporarily, to Walberswick on the Suffolk Coastline (in England), where he painted many fine flower studies in watercolour. In 1915 the Mackintoshes settled in London and for the next few years Mackintosh attempted to resume practice as an architect and designer. The designs he produced at this time for textiles, for the 'Dug-out' Tea Room in Glasgow and the dramatic interiors for 78 Derngate in Northampton, England show him working in a bold new style of decoration, using primary colours and geometric motifs.

In 1923 the Mackintoshes left London for the South of France, finally living in Port Vendres where Mackintosh gave up all thoughts of architecture and design and devoted himself entirely to painting landscapes. He died in London, of cancer, on 10 December 1928.

The majority of Mackintosh's design work, (including furniture and metalwork), architectural drawings, textile designs and watercolours are in the possession of three public collections - The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow Museums, and the Hunterian Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow - although significant (individual) pieces can be found in museums across the UK and Europe, North America and Japan. However, some of Mackintosh's most important, symbolist watercolours from the early to mid-1890s are to be found in the collection of The Glasgow School of Art.

The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections hold a large number of items by Mackintosh, giving us one of the largest collections of his work held in public ownership. We continue to investigate new routes of engagement for the collection. For example, our Mac(k)cessibility project in conjunction with GSA’s School of Simulation and Visualisation explores digital display and loans of our Mackintosh furniture. Find out more about the Mac(k)cessibility project here.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

One print from 'Abstract Language' (The Philadelphia Series)

One of eight screenprints in a folder inspired by artists and architects who spent their whole lives thinking about squares, rectangles and straight lines: C R Mackintosh, Malevich, Modrian, Lloyd Wright, Newman, Stella, Martin and Halley.
Print 'A' inspired by C R Mackintosh. The screenprints are boxed with an introductory page.

Kilgour, Scott

The Building Committee of the Board of Governors of The Glasgow School of Art

Portrait group. Inscribed on frame: "Mr. Charles. R. Mackintosh FRIBA The Architect/Col. R.J.Bennett V.D./Mr. David Barclay FRIBA/Sir Francis Powell, LLD, PRSW/Mr. John Munro FRIBA/Mr. Patrick S. Dunn - Convener/Councillor J. Mollison, MINA/ Mr. Hugh Reid DL/ Sir Wm Bilsland, Bart. LLD, DL/Sir John J. Burnet, RSA, FRIBA, LLD/Mr. John Henderson MA/Sir James Fleming - Chairman of Governors/Mr. John M. Groundwater - secretary/ Mr. Francis H. Newbery CAV OFF, INT, SBC, ARCA - Director, pinxit". When Newbery exhibited this group at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts in 1913 it did not include the figure of Mackintosh. In 1914 he painted his large portrait of Mackintosh (collection: Scottish National Portrait Gallery) and his Building Committee portrait group was offered to the Board and accepted. When it was unveiled in 1914 it was seen that he had added Mackintosh's figure, a smaller version of his individual portrait, to the left of the group, and redated the whole canvas 1914. Painting cleaned and relined in 1963 by Mr Harry McLean who discovered the late addition of the figure of Mackintosh.

Newbery, Francis Henry

The Descent of Night

Appears in The Magazine, April 1894. 'The central figure is based upon that used in the 1893 design for a diploma for the GSA and like that in 'The Harvest Moon', has wings like an angel. Here, however, she appears naked and her outstretched arms and hair merge and are transformed into barren tree-like forms. These descend to the horizon behind which the sun is gradually disappearing under the feet of the winged figure. From the bottom of the picture, and directly beneath the sun, rises a flight of menacing birds. They are presumably nocturnal birds of prey and they seem to be flying directly towards the viewers. This is one of Mackintosh's earliest uses of this strange bird, which was to become more stylised and to appear in many different forms, in several media in his oeuvre.' (Roger Billcliffe).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

The Downs, Worth Matravers

'As in 'The Village' there are no figures in this view of the Dorset countryside. This absolute lack of human activity gives Mackintosh's pictures an air of eerie, even surreal, desertion. They are formal landscapes... the most dominant feature in this work is the tall telegraph pole, a formal and unnatural element in this gentle Dorset landscape.' (Roger Billcliffe).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

The Magazine

There are 4 known surviving volumes: The Magazine 1893, The Magazine April 1894, The Magazine November 1894, The Magazine 1896.

The Magazine was a publication of original writings and designs by students from the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland, and their friends. Appearing in 4 volumes between November 1893 and Spring 1896, The Magazine contains text from contributors handwritten by Lucy Raeburn, editor, accompanied by original illustrations. These volumes are the only known copies of The Magazine. In addition to rare, early watercolours and designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the volumes contain early designs by Frances MacDonald and Margaret MacDonald, at a stage in their development which has been labelled 'Spook School', and two sets of photographs by James Craig Annan, when he was beginning to establish a reputation at home and abroad. Among other contributors were Janet Aitken, Katherine Cameron, Agnes Raeburn and Jessie Keppie, all of whom enjoyed lengthy careers in art and design.

The Magazine is similar to an album amicorum such as those which originated in the middle of the 16th century among German university students, who collected autographs of their friends and notable persons, sometimes adding coats of arms and illustrations. The Magazine resembled the album amicorum in that contributions were by a close group of students and their friends and is all the more interesting because the illustrations were produced by young people who had a common social background, were trained at the same school, and subjected to the same artistic influences. The contributors were closely linked, some by family, some by romantic attachments and had close social connections. Other contributors include C Kelpie, John M Wilson, Jane Keppie, and Ethel M Goodrich. Source: Jude Burkhauser, Glasgow Girls: women in art and design (Edinburgh : Canongate, 1990) The Magazine has been digitised in its entirety, and is available to search and browse at www.gsathemagazine.net/

Raeburn, Lucy

The Tree of Personal Effort

From The Magazine, Spring 1896. Inscribed: The Tree of Personal Effort, The Sun of Indifference, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, January 1895.' The exact meaning of the symbolism of this work, and its companion, 'The Tree of Influence' has eluded all commentators on Mackintosh's early water-colours. The obvious source of the symbolism is nature, and Mackintosh here reaches his most extreme distortion of organic forms.' (Roger Billcliffe).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

The Village, Worth Matravers

In July Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald spent a holiday in Dorset re-visiting many of the place he had visited in 1895. 'In 'The Village' and 'The Downs' Mackintosh makes his first conscious moves towards his mature style of the Port Vendres period. He is obviously concerned with the pattern of the landscape, picking out features like the stepped hillside, the stone walls, paths and roofs of village houses. These ordinary motifs are given an eerie emphasis by being painted in an equally detailed manner whether they are in the foreground of the the distance... it was probably at this time... that he decided to concentrate more and more on painting. By 1923 he had decided to forsake architecture and design and devote the rest of his life to producing watercolours.' (Roger Billcliffe).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Wall hanging designed for The Dug-Out, Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow

This item was lost in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014. The canvas relates to smaller watercolours in the Hunterian collection, formerly thought to be textile designs, and to their painted canvas, 'The Little Hills' by Margaret Macdonald. It is likely that they were intended for 'The Dug-Out', though it is not known whether they were ever installed there. Jessie Newbery recalled in 1933, that 'He (Mackintosh) and his wife spent the winter of 1914 painting two large decorations for Miss Cranston'. This would have been in Suffolk, after they had left Glasgow. Although The Dug-Out was not created till 1917-18 it is not unlikely that Miss Cranston was considering the project some years earlier. The canvas was found in the GSA in a single roll in 1981 and was cleaned and mounted on two stretchers.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Wall hanging designed for The Dug-Out, Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow

This item was lost in the fire in The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art on 23rd May 2014. The canvas relates to smaller watercolours in the Hunterian collection, formerly thought to be textile designs, and to their painted canvas, 'The Little Hills' by Margaret Macdonald. It is likely that they were intended for 'The Dug-Out', though it is not known whether they were ever installed there. Jessie Newbery recalled in 1933, that 'He (Mackintosh) and his wife spent the winter of 1914 painting two large decorations for Miss Cranston'. This would have been in Suffolk, after they had left Glasgow. Although The Dug-Out was not created till 1917-18 it is not unlikely that Miss Cranston was considering the project some years earlier. The canvas was found in the GSA in a single roll in 1981 and was cleaned and mounted on two stretchers.

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

White Roses

The wavy pattern in the background is very similar to some of the most abstract designs for textiles for which Mackintosh was producing at this time.' (Roger Billcliffe).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie