George Wyllie was a creative force whose wit and inventiveness helped him connect with wide and varied audiences in a way that eludes many other artists.
Works such as his famous Straw Locomotive - which hung from a crane during the Glasgow Garden Festival in the summer of 1987 before being ceremonially burned Viking-style - commemorated the west of Scotland's declining heavy industry with wordless eloquence.
The Straw Locomotive was spectacularly temporary, but fortunately Wyllie has left a wealth of other works, a number of which are to be auctioned next week. They include a sizeable replica of the famous straw steam train, some paintings, sketches and many sculptures.
An auction of works by such an influential artist can be an anxious moment; certainly it would be a great loss if Wyllie's best-known works were to disappear into private collections or leave the country, but thanks to the establishment of the George Wyllie Foundation, a large number of his most important pieces are being kept for ongoing exhibition. An artist's influence does not pass away when he or she does; through the enjoyment of his unique works by new audiences, Wyllie's is set to grow.
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