Two of the greatest works by famous Scottish artist Peter Howson OBE have arrived in a Macclesfield art gallery.
The two pictures, each a whopping six foot high, were purchased by the town’s Gateway Gallery from a private Howson collector who now lives in Spain.
One of the paintings is part of a series of “Dosser” potrayals produced by Howson in the 1990s, the other called “Dark of the Sun” (pictured) an almost biblical scene of men and dogs storming a town’s fortified wall.
Howson, whose style and subject matter have been compared to Hieronymus Bosh is sought after by collectors worldwide. His famous collectors include Madonna, David Bowie and Stephen Berkoff, but he is also in a large number of public galleries.
Prices for his art can vary depending on the quality and size, but his record for a painting at auction stands at almost £350,000, for a triptych sold in New York.
The gallery said the prospect of bringing the paintings to the gallery was too good to miss. “As soon as we were offered them and saw them in the flesh we just knew we had to have them, despite the fact that they take up a huge amount of gallery space.
“Paintings of this quality and size by the artist rarely appear on the open market, most of them are in museums, ” said manager Louise Griffin.
Howson, who is famously a sufferer from Asperger’s syndrome, shot to fame in the late 1980s as part of the so-called “New Glasgow School” a group of talented artists including Adrian Wiszniewski, Steven Campbell and Ken Currie, who set out to prove that figurative painting could still have a relevance and impact in an art world obsessed by conceptual art.
His work has encompassed a number of themes. His early works are typified by very masculine working class men, most famously in The Heroic Dosser (1987). Later he was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum of London to be the official war artist for the Bosnian war.
Here he produced some of his most controversial and outstanding work. One painting Croatian and Muslim, detailing a rape, created huge controversy and became the first painting by an official war artist that the Imperial War Museum had ever refused to hang. It was later bought by David Bowie.
More recently, as a recovering alcoholic, he has turned to Christianity and produced a series of paintings depicting his struggle against addiction
His paintings have been used on postage stamps and in 2012 he was the subject of a BBC Documentary The Madness of Peter Howson.
The gallery would not be drawn on how much the paintings would be sold for, but said “At this level and at this quality it tends to be a negotiation process between the buyer and the seller.”