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Self-portrait by Bessie MacNicol

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Self-portrait by Bessie MacNicol

Self-portrait c 1894 by Bessie MacNicol (1869-1904).

Bessie MacNicol was perhaps the most important woman painter in Glasgow at the start of the 20th century. She was born in Glasgow in 1869, the daughter of a schoolmaster, and attended Glasgow School of Art from 1887 until 1892. After leaving the GSA MacNicol studied art in Paris at the Academie Colarossi and in 1893 exhibited at the Royal Academy.

Upon her return to Glasgow, MacNicol moved back into the family home and by 1896 had acquired a studio in St Vincent Street. That year she spent time in Kirkcudbright, a small town popular with Glasgow artists including E A Hornel, whose portrait MacNicol painted around this time. In 1899 she married and moved to live with her husband at Hillhead where she had a large studio at the back of the house. She was an artist respected by her contemporaries and exhibited in Scotland and London, in several European cities and at Pittsburg and St Louis in the USA. She continued to paint until her death while pregnant at the age of 34.

Reference: 2494

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Academie Colarossi, artists, Glasgow School of Art, Royal Academy, self-portraits, women

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