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Lot 62: Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Landscape with Trees,

Important Irish Art

by Adam's

May 28, 2014

Dublin, Ireland

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  • Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Landscape with Trees,
  • Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Landscape with Trees,
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Description: Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Landscape with Trees, Nueil-sur-Layon Oil on panel, 37 x 45cm (14½ x 17¾'') Atelier stamp verso. Signed verso in blue chalk ''Roderic O'Conor Nueil-sur-Layon 1935'' Provenance: Vente O'Conor, Hotel Drouot, Seán Ó Criadáin, from whom purchased in 1979 by John P. Reihill, Deepwell, Blackrock, Co. Dublin Literature: Roderic O'Conor, Jonathan Bennington, 1992, No. 304, p.226 By the time this refined landscape was painted in 1935, in his 75th year, Roderic O'Conor had already made significant decisions with his and his wife's future in mind. He married Renée Honta two years earlier on 24 October,1933 at the Mairie for the Paris 6e arrondissement, following a lengthy relationship. His general health began to give cause for concern and between 1934 and 1935 they made extended visits to the warmer climate of Spain's southern coast at Torremolinos near Malaga, where they rented a house close to the beach. O'Conor disposed of his studio in 1933, and moved in with his new wife, whose apartment at 10 rue Jean Bart was close to Les Jardins de Luxembourg. With the storm clouds of war gathering in Europe a decision was made to leave Paris and to look for a property at some distance from the city in a location which would be potentially a more safe and a less threatened environment than the French capital. O'Conor purchased a property in his wife's name in the small town of Nueil-sur-Layon in the Départment of Maine-et-Loire. In interviews with elderly Nueil residents in 1981 they recalled how O'Conor's head of silver grey hair was the most distinguishing feature of his general appearance and how he and his wife, who was described as being ''very Bohemian,'' were frequently seen taking walks together in the surrounding countryside. The house which he purchased was a splendid maison de Maître on the edge of the town, adjacent to the road leading to Doué-la-Fontaine. The house was on an elevated site with a commanding view over an adjoining field sloping down to a small river which was a tributary of the river Layon. This field was the location for this well conceived painting which, given his age and general poor health, shows a remarkable degree of observation and skill in its execution. As he so frequently liked to do in his paintings, O'Conor has combined several techniques in this work which include sensitive brushwork generally throughout the group of trees to the left in his composition. The river bank below the trees reveals evidence of controlled work with the palette knife, in which he has scraped some of the paint back to the ground and then dragged the palette knife and brush across the underpainting to give the desired effect. The shallow pool of water has been similarly treated while in the group of trees to the right he has been more expressive and built the paint up more thickly, introducing a subtle range of tonal and textural changes. The site of the painting was so close to their home and so accessible that it is probable that O'Conor set up his easel in the landscape and worked on the painting on consecutive days until its completion. Dr. Roy Johnston

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