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Lot 85: George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)Holy Week Procession, MalagaOil on board, 76 x 63.5cm (30 x 25'')Signed; signed again and inscribed with title versoExhibited: 'George Campbell and the Belfast Boys' Adam's summer loan show, Dublin, July 2015, The

Important Irish Art 7th December 2016

by Adam's

December 7, 2016

Dublin 2, Dublin, Ireland

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Description: George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)Holy Week Procession, MalagaOil on board, 76 x 63.5cm (30 x 25'')Signed; signed again and inscribed with title versoExhibited: 'George Campbell and the Belfast Boys' Adam's summer loan show, Dublin, July 2015, The Ava Gallery, Clandeboye, August/September 2015, Cat. No.143.Literature: 'George Campbell and the Belfast Boys' by Karen Reihill, 2015, illustrated p.149.Executed in the 1970s, ‘Holy Week Procession, Malaga’ belongs to George Campbell’s final phase of painting. Travelling to Spain annually under Franco’s rule during the winter months from 1951, Campbell became fascinated with Spanish traditions and continually returned to the subject of Processions throughout his life. His interest in Processions may have been inspired from witnessing the Corpus Christi parade in Roundstone in the late 1940s when he travelled to the village with his close friend Gerard Dillon. Both artists continued to revisit the area and record traditions and festivities in Connemara and also in their native city of Belfast. Campbell’s series of Holy Week Processions first appeared in his solo exhibition at Richie Hendriks Gallery’s on St Stephen Green in April 1957. Influenced by Picasso and Braque, his images in the 1960s were characteristically cubist in style. By the mid 1970s however, Campbell’s brushwork was looser and form became less important. Technique of painting, colour and atmosphere became his primary focus until his death in 1979 and his Processions generally emerge from a soft mist with jewel like effects from daps of paint. 'Holy Week Procession, Malaga' depicts floats or ‘andas’ snaking through a street in Malaga lined with people. In Andalucia, the Semana Santa annually takes place during Easter week celebrations. Some Processions begin at dawn and conclude after dark involving a large number of people. In this work, Campbell sets the scene in evening light. In the foreground a Cross, the emblem of Christianity is visible and immediately behind, a larger ‘anda’ the Virgin de Delores is depicted supported by figures in blue tunics. Hooded figures form patterns and shapes which appear in a mass of colour as the street narrows and people in a balcony emerge from buildings in golden hues to watch the moving procession below. During the 1960s and 70s, Campbell entertained audiences on radio and television with his knowledge of Spain. He played flamenco on BBC and RTE and was the subject of a BBC film, ‘Gallery’ which related to his life in Spain. In 1962, he also appeared on The Late Late Show talking on Spain, bullfights, guitar and his favourite music. A year before he died, the Spanish Government formally recognised Campbell’s contribution to Spain in 1978 when he was made a knight Commander of Spain with the Insignia of the Order of merito Civile, the equivalent of a knighthood. Karen Reihill November, 2016

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