Dundee is a coastal city near the Firth of Tay in Eastern Scotland. Here was born David Simpson Foggie, on 31st December 1878, the last of 14 children to James and Margaret Foggie. He went on to become a painter of much renown within Scotland, even said to be “a painters’ painter”.
Foggie attended the local high school, which also happened to be the first and only art school in Dundee of that time, where his penchant for art quickly revealed itself. After that he went on to join, in 1896, the Dundee Graphic Arts Association where he met and had the company of the best names of the city in the art profession. In regard to these friends he said, “..their conversations and example were the most formative influence I ever met… With the stimulus of this atmosphere I determined to be an artist.”
After learning that many members of the Association had studied on the European continent, he enrolled at the Antwerp Academy in Belgium in 1898. Here he studied drawing and sketching under Franz Vinck, the same one who also taught Van Gogh, when Gogh was a student there.
In 1900, he returned to his family in Tayport, where he struggled to make his living as an artist so he took up part time manual labour as a source of income. This he enjoyed as it gave him opportunity to observe and draw his fellow worker, something he said to have been “…in line with my life.”.
This experience would influence his later work with people who worked with their hands becoming one of his main subjects. Such as one Mr Kinnear, an octogenarian farmer from Leuchars who posed for Foggie in a chair.
The expression “fair forfouchten”, after which Foggie named the painting, means to be tired or exhausted due to exertion or hard labour in english.
Much of Foggies work was based on people who worked with their hands, such as fisher women, farmers, labourers etc. This could have either been due to his nationalist views or his interest in the beauty of mundane life. Below is a portrait of a miner suffering from Tubercolosis whom Foggie paid to pose for him.
Foggie married Margaret Anne Jack of Spring Cottage, Tayport in 1902 and visited Florence, Paris and London before returning to Scotland. Margaret was a musician and had studied at the Berlin conservatory.
During the Second World War, John Duncan, one of Foggies friends from the Graphic Arts Association was on the Board of Management at Edinburgh College of Art and Foggie was offered a part time teaching position there, which he accepted. The year was 1920.
In 1925, he was elected Associate at the Royal Scottish Academy and became Academician in 1930. He worked his way up to Treasurer in ’31 and was made RSA’s Secretary in ’35, an office he held till his death. David Foggie suffered a fatal attack of asthma on 2 June 1948. He was aged 69.
Below is Foggie’s RSA diploma work, an oil on canvas of a model named Anne Doherty.