A world famous painting by Henri Matisse, once at the centre of a high profile court battle that shook the art world, is coming to Tayside.
Culture chiefs in Perth have secured the French master’s Portrait of Greta Moll as part of a link with some of the country’s leading galleries.
The painting from the turn of the 20th Century, which was once valued at around £25 million, is being loaned to Culture Perth and Kinross by London’s National Gallery.
It will form part of an autumn exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, exploring the life and career of Scottish Colourist John Duncan Fergusson.
Much of his work will go on display, alongside paintings from his contemporaries and founders of the Fauve movement.
As well as the Matisse portrait, the Tate has agreed to loan André Derain’s The Pool of London, while Samuel John Peploe’s On The French Coast will come from National Galleries Scotland.
It is the first time the iconic pieces will be exhibited in Perth and provides a rare opportunity to see them outside the nation’s capitals.
The exhibition, titled Fergusson, will showcase 40 paintings, drawings and watercolours spanning the duration of the Leith-born artists’ career.
Despite Perth being home to the Fergusson Gallery, this will be the largest dedicated exhibition of works by the artist to be held in Perth.
Matisse’s Portrait of Greta Moll made headlines around the world after a legal row erupted over claims the painting was stolen.
The grandchildren of the painting’s subject alleged the artwork had been taken from their family in the aftermath of the Second World War.
They launched a legal action in 2016, seeking the return of the painting or $30 million in compensation.
Bosses at the National Gallery said they would robustly defend themselves at a court in New York, insisting the gallery was the rightful owner and would fight “on behalf of the British people”.
The case was eventually dismissed by a Manhattan judge, who said the museum was shielded by sovereign immunity and the grandchildren had waited too long to raise their case.
Culture Perth and Kinross collections officer Amy Fairley said: “We are delighted to be able to exhibit such a fantastic array of works by JD Fergusson.
“We are also very grateful to the National Gallery, Tate and National Galleries Scotland for generously agreeing to loan us important works by Derain, Matisse and Samuel John Peploe to feature in this ambitious show.”
She said: “This is an incredible opportunity to see works by these iconic artists, who were key players in the modern art movement.
“Derain and Matisse pioneered a new style of painting which led to their becoming known as les Fauves, or ‘wild beasts’.
“This movement is characterised by the use of vivid, sometimes clashing colours and simplified forms and came to have a great influence on Fergusson’s work.”
There are plans to close the Fergusson Gallery, on Tay Street, and move the collection to Perth Museum and Art Gallery as part of a multi-million-pound renovation.
Fergusson opens at the George Street museum on Saturday, November 16.