Jack Pagan (1904-1994)
Jack Pagan was born in 1904 and was a native of eastern Scotland. He was the son of a factor, born and bought up at Braendo, Callender, Eastern Scotland in a beautiful house now used as a holiday home for children from the Gorbals. Later his family moved to Tayport.
He was one the first students at what was then known as the Dundee school of Art. Situated on the top floor of the institute of technology in Bell street. It was later renamed the Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art. He worked for a time at the Dundee courier but at the end of the 20's followed in the footsteps of two elder brothers and emigrated to America, to Houston Texas. In 1949 he moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he remained until he returned to Dundee in 1963.
Even while working as an illustrator in the States Jack Pagan found time for his own private paintings which were exhibited all over America. He did some portraiture but found more satisfaction in landscapes and later on, in still life, in which field he produced some of his best work. When he returned to Scotland he was able to devote more time to painting and his works were exhibited in the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy. Even so the majority of his pictures continued to be sold in America.
Jack worked with both watercolors and with oils but his favorite medium was polymer for both convenience and for its intrinsic quality. Jack greatly admired the works of Rembrandt with its emphasis on light and shadow. His own experimentation with lighting technique in order to produce depth and angle of shadow is evident in his still life work. He used simple objects, with clean lines and then spent many hours setting up a mixture of strategically placed artificial and natural light to achieve the effect of light and shadow he required.
During the 1970's he became increasingly interested in pointillism and the work of Georges Seurat. His own paintings became much more colorful as a result of this new influence. Gradually brush strokes ceased and were replaced with the fine dots of the pointillist.
The last home of Jack Pagan was beside the Tay in west Ferry looking across the river to Tayport lighthouse. This building had a lifelong fascination for him and he painted it many times through out his life and it seems appropriate that it was the last painting he ever completed before his failing eyesight forced him to give up his work.
His pictures represent the output of an interesting and varied life, both in the Southern States of America and on the East Coast of Scotland. He had an unerring eye for the beauty that lies in simplicity, painting pictures that give us untiring pleasure.