Craigie Aitchison  Scottish   1926-2009

Craigie Aitchison was born in Edinburgh 1926, the son of a lawyer and the first socialist Lord Advocate for Scotland. He was rejected for military service in the Second World War on medical grounds. He studied law at Edinburgh University  from 1944 to 1946, and at the Middle Temple , London 1948, before changing career.

He returned to Edinburgh in 1950 to practise painting in a converted mews house in Church Lane, and then studied at the Slade School of Art  in London from 1952 to 1954 under William Coldstream and Robert Medley. Aitchison won a prize for the best still life his second year. Fellow students included Michael Andrews, Victor Willing, Paula Reggo,and Euan Uglow.

In 1954 he was one of “Six Young Contemporaries” featured in an exhibition at Gimpel Fils Gallery, and the following year he was awarded a British Council Scholarship to study in Italy.

After leaving the Slade, Craigie Aitchison returned to Scotland; but in 1963 he and his mother moved to London, buying a house in Kennington .He taught part-time at the Chelsea Art School from 1968 to 1984, and in 1988 was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Aitchison’s first one-man show took place in 1959 at the Beaux Arts Gallery in London, where he was given two further one-man shows in 1960 and 1964. As well as at the Royal Academy, a major retrospective of his work from 1953 was held at the Serpentine Gallery in 1981, with further retrospectives at Harewood House near Leeds (1994) and the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow (1996). Last year there was an exhibition of his prints at the Abbot Hall gallery at Kendal, in Cumbria.

Craigie Aitchison, who was appointed CBE in 1999. His work can be found in many collections including the Tate Gallery, National galleries of Scotland and Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery.

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