Jack McLean art collection to go under the hammer

 We are delighted to present the art collection of Glasgow’s ‘Urban Voltaire’, Jack McLean (1946-2023).



Born in Townhead in 1946, McLean was a Glaswegian writer, journalist, broadcaster, artist and art collector of great renown. He wrote for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, Scottish Review and, most famously, for The Glasgow Herald. 



It was his Friday column in The Herald that made his name.  His column was an eclectic mix of his experience and interest, his working class background, and his esoteric knowledge. 

Like his writing, McLean’s 21 lot art collection, which will go under the hammer at McTear’s on 20th June, covers a variety of styles and subject matter, with watercolours and lithographs sitting alongside acrylics, pastels and oils. 

Commenting on the auction, McTear’s director, Magda Ketterer, said: “Jack McLean was a giant of the Scottish newspaper scene, with his acerbic wit and incisive observations garnering him a legion of loyal fans. Perhaps not surprisingly, McLean was a great supporter of the wider Scottish arts scene, with his impressive collection featuring seascapes, landscapes and figurative art by some of Scotland’s leading artists, including James Downie Robertson, Joe Hargan and Jack Knox, amongst many others.”

McLean’s place in the pantheon of Scotland’s great columnists was perhaps best summed up by historian, Professor Sir Tom Devine in The Herald’s obituary, when he noted: “[Jack McLean’s] wit, irreverent humour and intriguing insights always made his columns must-reads. The timbre and soul of Glasgow came through in them. He was also a master of great craic when you might meet him in his favourite taverns.”


Attired in his trademark fedora, dark pin-striped suit and long black overcoat, McLean cut a fine figure in Glasgow’s hostelries, where he would share stories and debate with his beloved Glaswegian brethren.



The collection features an impressive portrait of the writer - complete with fedora and the obligatory whisky decanter by his side - by George Devlin.  The acrylic on canvas is estimated to fetch between £300-£500.

Jack McLean’s niece, Keira McLean commented: “We lost Jack in December last year but since have been collating and preserving his writing, artwork and ephemera. With the monies raised at auction we plan on developing the Jack McLean archive with the hope of preserving his legacy and introducing his readers, old and new, to work yet unseen.  The family would like to thank McTear’s for hosting this auction and supporting our project.”

The Jack McLean Collection will feature in The Scottish Contemporary Art Auction on 20th June 2024.



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