Our Charity

Art in Healthcare is the leading arts provider for health organisations in Scotland. We lend high quality, original artwork to hospitals and other healthcare settings and provide fun-filled art workshops and talks for patients, care home residents and sheltered housing communities.
Find out more about our work at Art in Healthcare.
Donate with JustGiving

Artworks in Collection


2505


Helpful Links

Maggies Edinburgh

Macmillan Information and Support Centre


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498

Considering Victorine

by

John Behm

ConsideringVictorine
Considering Victorine by John Behm
Oil on Canvas
1993
95.5 x 110 cm

Reg. Number: L341

Print Label Print Label

Painted in the artist's studio and depicting Scottish writer Susie Maguire, this oil on canvas by John Behm mixes wet-on-wet or 'alla prima' brushwork - a fast style of painting where layers of wet paint are applied on top of one another - with the glaze technique. The painting was completed in 1993 and possesses some curious features - for example, the shadow cast by Susie as she sits with book in hand. Not only does it not seem to fit with her figure, but on closer inspection it seems to belong to someone else entirely. This is a deliberate incongruity on the part of the artist, and is a detail that may actually shed some light on the deeper aspects of the piece when considered in conjunction with the work's title, 'Considering Victorine'.

The Victorine mentioned in the title is not immediately present in the work, which only depicts the solitary figure of Susie Maguire. The connection must thus lie deeper in the piece, with Victorine existing as purely the object of consideration between the artist and his muse. During the period in which this work was completed, Behm was studying the work of Edouard Manet – in particular his oil paintings of the model, musician and artist, Victorine Meurent. The character and personality of Meurent fascinated Behm, and he researched her complicated life story for several years, producing a series of paintings and eventually coming to consider her as the "absolute archetype for the way in which [non-conformist] individuals within our society…can be misunderstood and misrepresented." Her strong personality and refusal to compromise on her artistic desires, not to mention her determination to succeed entirely on her own merits and without the help or protection of any man, combined to create an irresistibly charming, endlessly intriguing muse for Behm. Indeed, in a particularly revealing and honest statement, the artist confesses: "Tall and red-headed as she was, I'd probably have fallen in love with her, too, had I known her."

At the time of painting, short story writer Susie Maguire was Behm's living muse. She shared the artist's fascination for Victorine's story, and her ill-fitting shadow could thus be interpreted as a ghostly representation of Victorine's presence in the painting as the artist and Maguire reflect on her life and struggle. The painting might ostensibly be a simple portrait representing a given moment in time, but delving deeper into its oily layers yields some surprising curiosities.

John Behm has a degree in fine art and a separate degree in applied art, both from Edinburgh College of Art. He currently lives and works in Norfolk, where he continues to produce challenging art that both explores and expresses our inner, common humanity.
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Since 1991 our charity has been assembling one of the largest and most prestigious Collections of original Scottish art in the country. These artworks are uniquely available for display in hospitals and other healthcare settings.


Art in Healthcare is truly committed to the important role that art plays in the healing environment but we need your help to properly maintain and build this unique Collection for the enjoyment and benefit of the hundreds of thousands of staff, patients and visitors who view it each year.


With your help we're able to:


Keep our Collection on display in hospitals and care homes
Support young artists at their degree shows
Buy artwork from professional artists
Provide fun-filled art workshops for patients and care home residents
Develop our training programmes for volunteers


Adopt an artwork from our Collection for just £3 a month and you'll receive:


Your name (or a loved one's) written next to your chosen artwork online
A certificate of adoption with a picture of the artwork
Invites to Art in Healthcare's special events
First to view our latest Prestigious Print
Our colourful e-newsletter


"My patients really enjoy looking at our collection. Sometimes they even do an 'art tour' around the premises." ~ Barron Dental Practice


You can adopt an artwork in the gallery, if it hasn't already been adopted, by clicking the 'Adopt Me' button below the picture of the artwork.


Our Charity

Art in Healthcare is the leading arts provider for health organisations in Scotland. We lend high quality, original artwork to hospitals and other healthcare settings and provide fun-filled art workshops and talks for patients, care home residents and sheltered housing communities.
Find out more about our work at Art in Healthcare.
Adopt an artwork
Donate with JustGiving

Helpful Links

Maggies Edinburgh

Macmillan Information and Support Centre


Total Pageviews

498


Supported by Edinburgh Art Fair