McBEY, James

Scottish 1883-1959
Watercolorist and Etcher., Born in Newburgh near Aberdeen, at the age of 15 he attended evening classes at Gray’s School of Art Scotland. He began a career in banking and at the age of twenty-six became a full time artist. Self taught he produced his first prints of importance from 1910.Early on his career as an artist, Mcbey had a one man show at Goupil’s which was a great success. It was right after his show at Groupil’s that McBey travelled to Morocco with James Kerr Lawson, beginning a long association with North Africa. In 1916 he enlisted in the military and his pictures of Somme led to his appointment as an Official War Artist. In 1917 he was sent to Egypt and during an intensely active two years he produced some 300 watercolours of the campaign in Egypt and Palestine. In 1929 he visited America, returning in 1930 when he married Marguerite Loeb from Philadelphia. He introduced his wife to Morocco in 1932 and they bought a house near Tangier, later buying a second property in Marrakesh. McBey felt at home in North Africa and many of his best works were executed there. During the Second World War the McBeys lived in America, and despite immigration problems he eventually became an American citizen in 1942 and was able to work. In 1946 they returned to Tangier where McBey continued to work, with regular trips to America and Britain, until his death in 1959. In 1936, James McBey exhibited at the Dallas Museum of Art at the Dallas Art Exposition. He was one of a group of important modern painters of the time.

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