Jack Rigg – Artist and Educator – 29 October 2019
Jack Rigg has spent most of his life in Ayrshire. After his early education at Kilmarnock Academy, Jack attended and graduated from the Glasgow School of Art, specialising in fine art drawing and painting. Thereafter Jack taught in Ayrshire schools for 41 years before retiring, intending to paint, write and play golf. He came along to the club last week to tell us all about the lives and talents of two lesser known French impressionists, Berthe Morisot and Gustave Caillebotte, both of whom he admired greatly.
Jack began in humorous fashion by describing how difficult it was to encourage young school pupils to relate to and to appreciate fine art. One of his techniques was to write clever biographical poems which triggered an initial interest in the subjects.
Bethe Morisot lived through the latter half of the 19th century and was described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of “les trois grandes dames” of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt. She was married to Eugène Manet, the brother of her friend and colleague Édouard Manet. Her masterpiece, in Jack’s opinion, was her painting of a mother and baby in Le Berceau (the Cradle).
Gustave Caillebotte was a contemporary of Morisot, born to an upper-class Parisian family and inheritor of the family’s military textile business making him an extremely wealthy man. He had no need to make a living from painting but painted for the pure joy of it. he was multi-talented with a law degree and a great interest in horticulture. His paintings of flowers, particularly chrysanthemums, were exquisite in Jack’s discerning eyes.
Jack claimed he was the beneficiary of a lifetime teaching art and design and he believes he got more back from his students than he was able to give them. In his view art was still progressing and that modern day artists could be every bit as competent as past masters by benefiting from modern materials and teaching methods.