A private view
Chosen by his wife Helen, a new exhibition of work by the late John Bellany reveals a personal take on their journey together, brought to life through pieces from the family collection
What started as a daunting task for Helen Bellany – going through the vast body of work left by her late husband John – turned out to be an exhilarating, life-affirming experience. The works of John Bellany will be familiar to art lovers the world over. Arguably the most influential Scottish painter since the Second World War, Bellany’s paintings feature in the collections of major museums and art galleries around the world, including the National Galleries of Scotland, the Tate Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Now, two years after his death, an ambitious exhibition of Bellany’s work, including never-before-seen pieces from the family collection, is set to go on display in Edinburgh. Selected by his wife Helen, The Capercaillie’s Song reveals her personal view of her life with the artist as Bellany’s muse and inspiration.
‘It was very emotional, going through all of John’s work and seeing things that I hadn’t seen for many years. But it was also a wonderful experience because I found such fantastic pieces,’ Helen says. ‘I have chosen paintings and drawings that have particular significance for me in the life I shared with John. There were so many that I liked, I could Above: John Bellany – painting was central to his life, ‘it was like a dialogue he was having with himself’. Left:
(1991), oil on canvas.