alastair morton - artist & Designer
Alastair Morton 1910-1963
Alastair Morton was a gifted artist and textile designer, a pioneer of modernism whose little known Constructionivist paintings and abstract watercolours are a revelation and delight. He was an inspirational figure who crossed the divide between painting and textiles. He ran the textile company Edinburgh Weavers which was one of the most imaginative companies of the twentieth century and was close friends with Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo in the influencial 1930’s. His links with the leading British Modern Art movement ensured that over 150 artists designed fabric patterns for his company . He was nothing short of remarkable and all crammed into a short life. Alastair Morton’s artwork was overlooked for a period but following his death the V&A held a memorial exhibition followed in 1978 when the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art held another . This re established interest in his design work and the Fine Art Society held an exhibition of his work in 2006 and in 2009 Tate Britain mounted a display of British Constructivsm in which he featured along side Nicholson, Gabo, Mondrian and other greats. In more recent times his constructionivist oil paintings have commanded great interest in London auctions with an oil selling for a significant sum in 2018. So at last his ability is being recognised and his work is now much sought after due to its direct linkage to the likes of Nicholson. It is these early paintings that led to the launch of the Constructionivist Fabrics by Edinburgh Weavers in 1937, which placed the company at the forefront of the modern movement.
The works available here at Blondes Fine Art are from a single source private collection and are very typical of his output during the 1940’s when he was looking at the metaphysical forces and urges rooted in the natural world. There are abstract forms derived from seeds, buds and flowers suggesting regeneration and renewal in this post war period. He said, in the late 1940’s how “Life and plant drawing and abstract composition are my mental recreation and exercise “ and how painting was a “necessary recreation and widening of the imagination.” Some paintings evoke eggs and embryos, while others conjure up eyes or breasts, so the ideas of sexual reawakening and rebirth are strongly felt.
Having been somewhat overlooked by the art world in the past Alastair Morton and his work is now seeing the recognition it rightly deserves.