Born in Aberdeenshire, Cowie studied at Glasgow School of Art. He later taught at Bellshill Academy, near Glasgow, followed by the position of Warden at Hospitalfield House. It was here where Cowie taught Joan Eardley, where they famously clashed over their different approaches to painting. Cowie's style of painting was precise and linear. A great admirer of artists like Poussin and the pre-raphaelite painters, he felt he shared their classical values of self-restraint and objectivity. He had a meticulous way of working and believed that art was a product of thought and reason.

James Cowie was the subject of an exhibition in March 2019 during which Gallery Director Guy Peploe gave a talk on his life and career. Please click here to view the edited highlights.


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