Lot 77: Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940)Etude de NuOil on canvas, 71 x 91.5cm (28 x 36'')Signed and dated (19)'14Provenance: David Messum Gallery London, where purchased by the current owner June 1991.Exhibited: 'Les Petits Maître: British Impressionism' exh

Adam's

December 7, 2016, 6:00 PM GMT
Dublin 2, Ireland
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Description: Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940)Etude de NuOil on canvas, 71 x 91.5cm (28 x 36'')Signed and dated (19)'14Provenance: David Messum Gallery London, where purchased by the current owner June 1991.Exhibited: 'Les Petits Maître: British Impressionism' exhibition, David Messum Gallery, Autumn 1988, Catalogue No.103.Literature: 'Roderic O'Conor' by Jonathan Benington, Dublin 1992, page 213, Catalogue No.189.This is one of O'Conor's biggest and most ambitious paintings of the female nude. The figure, reclining on a green drape partially covering a chaise longue, fills the canvas from left to right. Behind the figure and to her left is the large studio mirror that O'Conor used as a prop in other paintings of clothed and nude figures, often with an element of ambiguity as to whether the image was reflected or real. In the present work, however, any uncertainty is removed, and the reflection unusually shows, not the model from behind, but rather a glimpse of a circular table covered with a cloth and a few still life objects. The mirror itself has been placed in the curtained recess at one end of the studio that the artist used for storing his canvases. And in the upper right of the composition can be seen the same secretaire that is familiar from other paintings by O'Conor, such as 'Still Life with Tureen, Jug and Dish' (Benington, loc. cit, no.190, pl.56).In 'Etude de Nu', therefore, the viewer is presented with a mixture of domestic creature comforts (fine furniture and drapes) and the professional attributes of the painter (stretched canvases, curtain, posed model). O'Conor, in other words, was minded to create a very honest impression of how these two worlds come together in the domain of the artist. It is perhaps worth mentioning that, for thirty years, his studio at 102 rue de Cherche-midi in the Montparnasse district of Paris was both a working space and living quarters, the main high-ceilinged room leading through to a small kitchen and a bedroom.Compared to the earlier nudes of O'Conor's intimiste period, 'Etude de Nu' is much more of a palpable, even tangible three-dimensional entity. By positioning the figure firmly in the foreground, he has ensured that she is both well lit and clearly defined. He does not scrimp on any of the details - note in particular the beautifully realised hands of the model, not to mention the challenge he set himself with the foreshortening of her left arm. The model's torso and limbs are angled towards the viewer so as to make the most of the reflected light from the windows, this bright zone in turn being contrasted with the dark shadows of the canvas store beyond. The creamy consistency of O'Conor's brushwork and the frank, uninhibited pose of the model recall Monet's 'Olympia', a picture with which he would have been highly familiar from his visits to the Louvre.Jonathan Benington
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Important Irish Art 7th December 2016

by
Adam's
December 7, 2016, 6:00 PM GMT

Dublin 2, Ireland

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