Prone to severe depression and heavy drinking, he suffered a nervous breakdown in the 1970s. In 1988, he underwent a liver transplant (a ground-breaking procedure at the time) which prolonged his life for more than two decades. Among his most famous works was a series of large Expressionist self-portraits produced at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Bellany’s marriages were another source of inspiration. A picture of both his wives is on offer at McTear’s in Glasgow on August 13.
He married his first wife Helen Percy in 1974 and his second wife Juliet Lister in 1979. Lister committed suicide in 1985 after long periods in hospital suffering from schizophrenia. He remarried Percy in 1986.
Two Wives, a large 5ft x 4ft (1.52 x 1.22cm) oil on canvas pictured above, depicts the pair surrounded by birds and a table of fish. It is estimated at £8000-12,000.
This painting was acquired in 1990 by the wealthy American collectors and gallery owners Jerome and Ruth Siegel. The latter, a board member of MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Arts and Design, gave Bellany a major solo show in New York in 1988.
The couple’s multi-million-dollar collection has been sold in recent years.
Another portrait of Helen will appear at auction a few days later at Edinburgh saleroom Lyon & Turnbull on August 17. The smaller 22 x 15in (56 x 38cm) watercolour and charcoal work dates to 1985 and is estimated at £1200-1800.