Spanning four floors of City Art Centre in Edinburgh, the first major retrospective of Peter Howson’s work brings together over 100 paintings from public and private collections, tracing his career from his student days to the present. Many of the works have never been seen in public, having been privately commissioned from the artist.
The exhibition includes Howson’s early work, which is dominated by depictions of working-class Glasgow men – dossers, boxers, body-builders – with the huge Heroic Dosser from the National Galleries of Scotland, a key painting from this period, hanging alongside images of army life and nightclubs. In 1993 Howson was appointed Official War Artist in Bosnia by the Imperial War Museum and a section of the exhibition is devoted to this traumatic and harrowing experience.
The exhibition also explores Howson’s more recent work. While in the depths of despair and his life at a very low ebb, he turned to religion, and many of the works are inspired by his ongoing faith journey.