Blue and White was sent by William Scott to Martha Jackson in August 1962, where it remained in the gallery's stock before passing on in 2001. A friend of Scott's, Robert Fusillo, tried to buy the painting in 1964 after seeing it at the Martha Jackson Gallery. Fusillo wrote a letter to Scott around December that year saying, 'Miss Jackson has a 40 x 50 painting [the present work] of yours that we love. I am trying with all my charm to get her to let me have it without paying anything till next summer. She hasn't answered my letter in three weeks, which may be good, or may be bad' (quoted in Sarah Whitfield, William Scott, p.238).
Fusillo was evidently unsuccessful in acquiring the painting but one can understand his desire to own it. It is a beautiful example of Scott's lifelong commitment to and re-imagination of the still-life genre, in which he sought to resolve the dilemmas of figuration and abstraction that had dominated painting in the 1950s and 60s. By the mid-1950s, Scott's familiar use of pots and pans had become increasingly abstract and in Blue and White, while they remain integral, their shapes have metamorphosed into irregular oblongs and variants of squares. Scott has used the spacing of the shapes to divide the picture area and create tensions between the forms as they jostle amongst each other. This animation is further emphasised by the modulation of colours and paint surface, unevenly worked and creating vibrations through the picture.
1958 was an important year for Scott, having been chosen as one of three artists to represent Britain at the XXIX Venice Biennale. The prestige afforded by the Biennale and the success of the British Pavilion did much to secure Scott's international reputation - a reputation carried forward on the strength of such works as Blue and White.
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