Duncan Shanks was born in Airdrie and studied at Glasgow School of Art where he later lectured. He draws his subjects and inspiration from the countryside around his home in the Clyde Valley. Strong colour and richly applied paint chart the changing seasons and the forces imminent in nature. His works also examine the perennial tasks and practices of traditional rural life.
'Duncan Shanks is a committed and self-aware modernist. Nevertheless he chose from the beginning of his career the apparently old-fashioned idiom of landscape... his pictures reach beyond abstraction to achieve, in his own words, "a fusion of the actual and the abstract.’"'
- Duncan MacMillan, Author and art critic
Duncan Shanks sketchbook collection:
The Hunterian’s collection of sketchbooks by Duncan Shanks provides a unique insight into one artist’s remarkable journey through the creative process.
Publicity-shy and reluctant to be involved with the social aspects of the art world and its institutions, Duncan Shanks (born 1937) is an important Scottish landscape painter who has remained largely unknown to the wider public, even though his art is much admired in Scottish academic and art circles. He lives with his wife, a fellow artist, in the small village of Crossford by the Clyde, some twenty miles south-east of Glasgow.
In the last five decades, he has filled more than 100 sketchbooks with a wide variety of drawings, from simple recordings of his surroundings to exploratory studies investigating complex subjects and more finished drawings. Never shown to anyone, these have been the anchor of his life as an artist.
The long standing relationship between Shanks and The Hunterian, which dates back to the early 1990s, led the artist to gift his entire collection of 106 sketchbooks to the University in 2013.
The Duncan Shanks sketchbook collection:
The Scottish Gallery biography of Duncan Shanks