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Lot 84: George Campbell RHA RUA (1917-1979) Still Life with Crayfish (1972) Oil on board, 51 x 61cm (20 X 24'') Signed together with original catalogue, 1972 Exhibited: 'George Campbell' exhibition at the Cork Art Society Gallery, Lavitts Quay, April 19

Important Irish Art 7th December 2016

by Adam's

December 7, 2016

Dublin 2, Dublin, Ireland

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  • George Campbell RHA RUA (1917-1979) Still Life with Crayfish (1972) Oil on board, 51 x 61cm (20 X 24'') Signed together with original catalogue, 1972 Exhibited: 'George Campbell' exhibition at the Cork Art Society Gallery, Lavitts Quay, April 19
  • George Campbell RHA RUA (1917-1979) Still Life with Crayfish (1972) Oil on board, 51 x 61cm (20 X 24'') Signed together with original catalogue, 1972 Exhibited: 'George Campbell' exhibition at the Cork Art Society Gallery, Lavitts Quay, April 19
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Description: George Campbell RHA RUA (1917-1979) Still Life with Crayfish (1972) Oil on board, 51 x 61cm (20 X 24'') Signed together with original catalogue, 1972 Exhibited: 'George Campbell' exhibition at the Cork Art Society Gallery, Lavitts Quay, April 1972, Catalogue No.11; 'George Campbell and the Belfast Boys', Adam's exhibition, Summer 2015, Catalogue No. 131Literature: George Campbell and the Belfast Boys by Karen Reihill 2015 illustrated p131Following the 1967 ROSC exhibition and increased prosperity in Ireland dramatic changes developed in the visual arts. Optical, Conceptual and Pop Art emerged from a younger generation of artists. Campbell, who divided his time between Spain and Ireland couldn’t understand the divergence in art practices in Dublin while his focus remained on people and on Ancient Ireland. At this time, Campbell, a fluent Spanish speaker and a master of the flamenco guitar, was a popular figure in the community of Andalusia and had held exhibitions in London and Malaga. Despite being labeled as out of date in Dublin in the late 1960s by some critics, demand for his work led to solo exhibitions with Tom Caldwell in his galleries in Dublin and Belfast and a retrospective exhibition was held with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) in Belfast in 1972.Born in Arklow, the son of artist Gretta Bowen and brother of watercolourist and photographer, Arthur Campbell, George Campbell worked in an assortment of jobs during the Belfast ‘Blitz’ before he decided to paint full time at the age of twenty-four. Self-taught, he held his first solo exhibition with Victor Waddington in Dublin in 1946. Over the next twenty-five years, he divided his time between Ireland and Spain exploring various subjects and mediums including designing stained glass windows for the Galway Cathedral in the mid 1960s. ‘Still life with Crayfish’ was exhibited at the Cork Arts Society in April 1972 and was chosen by the artist to feature with him in a newspaper article. Reviewing Campbell’s exhibition at the ACNI in January 1972, Mercy Hunter remarked that Campbell was a ‘master of still life painting, where his use of colour is excellent, his sense of pattern unfaltering, and where there is usually an element of surprise in the composition to delight the eye.’ In this work the surprise and delight to the eye is a splash of red on a crayfish in the center of the composition. Campbell avoids formality and draws the viewer in by eliminating detail and concentrates instead on colour balance and a pattern of shapes giving a strong sense of rhythm and design. The art critic who had labeled Campbell out of date in the late 1960s positively reviewed his exhibition in Cork and remarked in The Irish Times that ‘Still Life with Crayfish was excellent’ adding ‘there are no gimmicks in the exhibition. It is an entirely sincere work-arrogant enough to know its own value and humble enough to seek constantly for further knowledge.’ (April 21, 1972) Karen Reihill November, 2016

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