Joan Eardley was born in Sussex. She came to Glasgow in 1939 and studied at Glasgow School of Art. She is regarded by many as the most important artist in post-war Scotland.
She had two principle themes: the Glasgow children who played in the streets near her Towhead studio, and the landscapes and seascapes around Catterline.
In the 1960s she began a series of paintings based on the Townhead youngsters. The children were often depicted against a vibrant red backdrop. The backdrop was inspired by the metal store at the corner of St James's Road, which had been painted scarlet.
Two Children was Eardley's last and most ambitious picture of the series. It was found unfinished on her easel after her death at the age of 42 in 1963.
The painting makes good use of pattern. It incorporates collage to depict the rough tenement walls plastered with graffiti.
Eardley had found a set of old metal stencils and the stencilled letters – 'metal store scrap', 'hair' 'woolen & baging' – seem to dance over the heads of the two girls.
She added to this she the metal foil of sweet papers and newspaper headlines – the flotsam and jetsam of Glasgow street life.
Joan Eardley (1921–1963)
Oil and collage on canvas
Size 1347mm x 1347mm