Lot 89: Camille Souter HRHA (b.1929)Iron Gates (1962)Oil on paper laid on board, 62 x 101.5cm (24¼ x 40'')Signed and dated 1962 and inscribed 'Calary'Literature: 'Camille Souter: Mirror in the Sea', Garrett Cormican, 2006, Cat. No.155, illustrated p.249.
December 7, 2016
Dublin 2, Dublin, IrelandLive Auction
Description: Camille Souter HRHA (b.1929)Iron Gates (1962)Oil on paper laid on board, 62 x 101.5cm (24¼ x 40'')Signed and dated 1962 and inscribed 'Calary'Literature: 'Camille Souter: Mirror in the Sea', Garrett Cormican, 2006, Cat. No.155, illustrated p.249.Camille Souter (b.1929) moved to live in County Wicklow with her husband, the sculptor Frank Morris in the early 1960s and two of her children were born there. The couple lived in a gate lodge in Enniskerry at first but moved to a house near Calary Bog which they bought for 600. This was where she met Sir Basil Goulding who became her most important collector. Calary was the happiest time of my life, she told Niall McMonagle in 2009. Following Morriss tragically early death in 1970 she lived in other places, mainly Achill, but retained her house in Calary until the late 1990s.When asked does she think of herself as Irish, even though born in England, Souters response was I think you are where you live, where you give your vital work energies and where you absorb. That concentration on the stimuli in the immediate environment is one of her most telling characteristics and permeates Iron Gates. It is one of several paintings of gates, all dating from the early 1960s and there is a clear similarity between this painting and another, called Bed Ends in the yard also from 1962. They celebrate the imaginative power of everyday objects and experience, and document Souters awareness of the relentless alterations to the landscape. She recalls the artist Anne Yeats telling her that one of the first changes was when the bed ends disappeared from the gap in the field. Souter didnt need to be told. Calary, despite its punishing bogland and muddy roads, was a domesticated landscape when compared to Souters other great love, Achill. What is compelling is the level of energy she brings to those very different environments. The work in Calary took on a more relaxing, horizontal emphasis, enlivened here, by the calligraphic flourishes of the wrought iron work. The magic, however, comes from the intensity of the light. Instead of the black and silver palette of Achill, this and her other paintings from Calary in 1962, radiate heat, and sunshine, in a flurry of soft reds and yellows. The paint is applied in thin, shimmering layers, in keeping with the artists comment, I never liked thick paint because not enough light can go through it and her desire that her work should be seen in natural, rather than artificial light.Camille Souter is a self-taught artist, a Saoi of Aosdána, and her work is included in all major Irish collections.Catherine Marshall