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Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell was a Scottish painter of the Colourist movement, a branch of the Post-Impressionism. He became primarily known for his landscapes, portraits of glamorous women, and interior representations of fashionable houses in Edinburgh.
Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell was born on April 12, 1833, In Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the son of Mary Hamilton Boileau and her husband, Dr. Francis Cadell, a successful surgeon. His sister, Jean Cadell, became a well-known actress.
Around 1849, Cadell enrolled at the distinguished Parisian school Academie Julian, where he would become in contact with the French avant-garde of the period. While in France, the artist was exposed to the artworks of the Fauvists, especially Henri Matisse’s. This proved to be a long-lasting inspiration for his career. Upon his return to Scotland, the artist began to exhibit often in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and also London.
Cadell was a left-handed artist. At one time, the President of the Royal Scottish Academy tried to cease the use of his left hand. The artist did argue that Michelangelo was also left-handed. The President promptly left the room with no response. When Cadell was asked by a colleague how he knew Michelangelo was left-handed, the artist responded that he did not know, and neither did the President.
Cadell would spend much of his adult life in his home country, quite isolated from new concepts that were being developed in other countries. Thus, the artist would depict subjects close to his surroundings, such as fashionable house interiors, landscapes, and still lifes on both oil and watercolor. He became primarily known for his portrait paintings, depicting elegant women, depicting them in vibrant colors with loose brushstrokes of Impressionistic manner.
He became very fond of the scenery of the small island of Iona, where he visited in 1912 and became a constant subject in his future production. During the 1920s, the artist spent most of his summers with his friend and fellow Colorist painter Samuel Peploe on paintings trips to Iona. He also befriended the distinguished Scottish Architect Reginald Fairlie.
Upon the death of his friend Ivor Campbell during World War I, the artist promptly enlisted. He fought in the 9th Royal Scots regiments and the 9th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell died of cancer on December 6, 1937.