Christie's /Nov 21, 2013
€95,454.02 - €143,181.04
Artworks in Arcadja313
Some works of Roderick O ConorExtracted between 313 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -Jul 16, 2014 - LondonLot number: 100
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Roderic O'Conor, R.H.A. (1860-1940) Seated female nude signed with initials 'R.O'C' (upper right), signed again, inscribed and dated 'No 3 Etude R. O'Conor 23/06' (on the stretcher) oil on canvas 24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm.) with Crane Kalman Gallery, London, 1975. with Pyms Gallery, London, 1982. Dr Terence Fulton, Belfast, and by descent. J. Benington, Roderic O'Conor, a biography with a catalogue of his work, Dublin, 1992, p. 214, no. 206. Paris, Salon d'Automne, 1909, no. 1319, as 'Étude'. London, Pyms Gallery, The Irish Revival, May - June 1982, no. 53 (ex-catalogue).
Auction: Sotheby's -May 22, 2014 - LondonLot number: 288
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Provenance Hôtel Drouot, Paris, Vente O’’Conor, 7 February 1956 Exhibited Musée de Pont-Aven, Roderic O’’Conor, L’’oeuvre gravé, 20 March - 20 June 1999; Musée de Pont-Aven, Peintres Irlandais en Bretagne, 26 June - 27 September 1999, no.32 Roderic O'Conor 1860-1940 BRETON GIRL READING (BRETONNE LISANT) stamped on the reverse: atelier O’’ CONOR oil on canvas 64.5 by 54cm., 25¾ by 21¼in. Original canvas. There are some faint signs of craquelure to the thicker areas of impasto on her hat and the on the book, and a very faint pattern to the blue of her dress, only visible upon close inspection; otherwise the work appears in good overall condition. UV light reveals two small area of retouching in the blue of her dress. Held in a gilt plaster frame.
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Lot 14 Roderic O'Conor RHA, 1860-1940 STILL LIFE WITH A COMPOTIER OF FRUIT Oil on canvas, 25 1/2” x 21 1/4 (65 x 54cm), signed and dated 1923 This carefully composed and densely packed still life of flowers, fruit and ceramic objects disposed on a red tablecloth has only recently come to light in France. The inscription on the original canvas stretcher suggests that it is identifiable with the painting entitled Nature morte (le compotier) which was the third of O’’’’Conor’’’’s five submissions to the 1923 Salon d’’’’Automne (catalogue number 1526). The painting was then priced at 1200 francs and presumably sold from the exhibition, thus bypassing the 1956 O’’’’Conor studio sale at Paris’’’’s Hôtel Drouot, whence the majority of the artist’’’’s works were dispersed. For this picture O’’’’Conor has assembled a number of his favourite possessions and lit them from the right and above with natural light from one of his large studio windows. Unusually, the windows faced south-west as opposed to the customary north – this meant that direct sunlight would stream through the windows in the afternoon, casting his props and models into strong relief, as we see in the present work. He could thus deploy bright highlights for his objects where they caught the light, picking them out against the dark window wall, whilst the shaded parts of the objects stood out from a light-flooded side wall. This strategy allowed him to heighten the drama of his studio compositions. Most of the objects featured in this still life can be found in other still lifes and figure paintings by O’’’’Conor. The 18th-century Delft apothecary’’’’s jar to the left is the same one that featured in Still Life 1924, which the art critic Roger Fry bought direct from the artist and bequeathed to the Courtauld Galleries, London in 1935. The centrally placed Chinese blue and white vase formed the main focus of Le vase bleu 1919, besides appearing, this time without flowers, in the background of Seated woman in a red dress c. 1923-6 (the vase survived until the 1980s when it was accidentally broken during the making of a documentary about the artist). The white compotier occupying the foreground served as a raised platform for arrangements of fruit in many of O’’’’Conor’’’’s later still lifes. Detail did not concern the painter in these works. Rather he sought to create richly textured and coloured surfaces that formed painterly equivalents to nature’’’’s bounty, in the shape of ripe fruit and freshly picked flowers. The blooms in this case include roses and what appear to be sprigs of lilac, which complement the blue vase whilst interposing a cool central zone between the fiery yellows and oranges at top and bottom. Jonathan Benington, 26 February 2014 Estimate: €60,000 - €90,000 AUCTION DETAILS: IRISH ART AUCTION Tuesday 25th March 2014 Thomas Prior Hall, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 » View Lots » Browse Flip Catalogue » Live Bidding
Auction: Christie's -Nov 21, 2013 - LondonLot number: 183
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Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Red Rocks, Brittany oil on paper laid on board 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm.) Painted circa 1898-99. THE PROPERTY OF A COMPANY J. Benington, Roderic O'Conor, Dublin, 1992, p. 198, no. 72. Dublin, Municipal Gallery, 1996. Dublin, Milmo Penny, Roderic O'Conor Private View, May - June 2001, no. 4, as Seascape, Brittany. In summer of 1898 O'Conor visited Pont-Aven in Brittany, where he would remain for the next five years and which provided a rich source of inspiration for his paintings. At around this time, he began a series of seascapes in which he responded to the primal energy created by the sea at the rocky Penmarch peninsula at the coastal village of St Guénolé, and where he lived for several months in a hotel beside the lighthouse. By the summer, he had moved onto the Belle-Ile, one of the largest of the Breton islands and popular with artists, such as Monet, Slewinski and John Peter Russell, the Australian artist who became a friend. Discussing this fertile period of O'Conor's landscape painting, Jonathan Benington (op. cit., pp. 81-82) comments, 'The Irishman studied the way the angry sea pounded the land, churning itself into whirlpools of foam and spindrift ... Sometimes he was moved to paint just an expanse of sea and sky, eliminating the foreground so as to create a greater sense of immediacy ... As the series continued, O'Conor allowed the naturally red rock-formations of the Breton coast to dominate his compositions, painting them in heightened shades of crimson and orange. By using colour arbitrarily, for its own sake, he obtained a degree of abstraction which anticipated that of the Fauves five years later. The brilliant, flattened hues of the Promontory, Brittany (1898-99, Bristol Museums and Art Gallery), for instance defy comparison with the work of his contemporaries, excepting perhaps a few pictures by Gauguin and the Nabi'.
Auction: Christie's -Nov 20, 2013 - LondonLot number: 42
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Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) Flowers, bottle and two jugs signed 'O'Conor' (lower right), signed again with studio stamp 'atelier O'CONOR' (on the reverse) oil on canvas 29 x 21½ in. (73.6 x 54.6 cm.) Painted circa 1892. The Artist's Studio Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 7 February 1956. with Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London. Dorothy E. Miller, by whom donated to Gisbourne Art Gallery and Museum, New Zealand, in 1965. with Browse & Darby, London, where purchased by the present owner in 1986. THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR Exhibition catalogue, Roderic O'Conor, Norman Adams, London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, 1964, no. 4, illustrated. R. Johnston, 'Gauguin's Irish Friend', Art & Artists, September 1984, p. 28, illustrated. Exhibition catalogue, Roderic O'Conor 1860-1940, London, Barbican Art Gallery, 1985, no. 7, illustrated. J. Benington, Roderic O'Conor, a Biography with a Catalogue of his Work, Dublin, 1992, pp. 39, 190, no. 17, pl. 7. London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, Roderic O'Conor, Norman Adams, 1964, no. 4. London, Barbican Art Gallery, Roderic O'Conor 1860-1940, 1985, no. 7: this exhibition travelled to Belfast, Ulster Museum; Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland; Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery. Indianapolis, Museum, Gauguin and the School of Pont-Aven, September - October 1994, no. 54: this exhibition travelled to Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, November 1994 - January 1995; Montreal, Musée des Beaux-Arts, February - April 1995; Memphis, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, May - July 1995; San Diego, Museum of Art, July - September 1995. O'Conor arrived in the Breton fishing village of Pont-Aven in the late summer of 1891. The first chapter in the development of the Pont-Aven School of painting was already over. Gauguin, the School's progenitor, who had been active in the area since 1886, was now absent on his first trip to the South Seas. In 1892-93 Emile Bernard, his former friend and artistic comrade in arms, spent his last season in the town for eighteen years, whilst Paul Sérusier, another of the chief disciples, was lured away by the quieter charms of Huelgoat and Châteauneuf-du-Faou. The field was thus wide open for a staunchly modernist artist such as O'Conor to meld his own style out of the various strains of progressive painting that were attracting attention on the Parisian art scene, originated by artists based in the South and West of France, as well as the capital itself. The prevailing Pont-Aven style was Synthetism, which rejected conventional perspective in favour of broad flat forms, depicted using unnaturally bright colours and bold contours (similar in appearance to medieval stained glass). Although O'Conor experimented with elements of the style in some of his drawings and etchings, he never embraced it wholeheartedly. While the free use of colour appealed to him, he could not subscribe to the extremely shallow focal place and seemingly wilful distortions of nature practiced by his Synthetist colleagues. On one level, Flowers, bottle and two jugs, executed no more than six months after O'Conor's arrival in Pont-Aven, is a declaration of his new-found affinity for this remote region of France. The still life objects he has included were all locally sourced: two hand-painted faïence jugs from Quimper, a bottle of farm cider, and a glass of what appear to be wild roses. It is as if the painter were announcing that he has rid himself of the tired conventions of bourgeois civilisation in favour of a more authentic, rustic simplicity, echoing the sentiments of Gauguin four years earlier when he proudly eulogised the sound of his wooden clogs ringing out on the granite ground. Brittany had got into O'Conor's bones; it was no accident that the region became his base for the next thirteen years. On another level, Flowers, bottle and two jugs is a mature and confident statement of O'Conor's artistic radicalism. In this picture, with its carefully considered spatial, tonal and chromatic relationships, he quite literally nails his colours to the mast, aided by a strong shaft of sunlight streaming through a window just out of the picture to the left. The method O'Conor has used to apply his pigments is the most daring aspect of the painting, and one that must have triggered a potent visual shock when it was seen by his more conventional contemporaries. From top to bottom, the picture surface has been articulated using bold, rhythmic 'stripes' of pigment, most of them aligned vertically, with the exception of the diagonal striations used in the two jugs. The undisguised ribbons of paint disrupt our representational reading of the composition, making us focus instead on the warp and weft of the painter's brushstrokes and the harmonies of his colours. O'Conor's emphatic gestures carry a very modern message: that the painting is, first and foremost, a two-dimensional entity governed by the logic of its own making, instead of being intended to function as an illusion of three-dimensional reality. The flickering colour vibrations in Flowers, bottle and two jugs could be conceived as serving a similar purpose to the dots of pure colour used by the Pointillists. O'Conor's attenuated brushstrokes are, however, too prominent to allow individual colours to mix optically - his alternating strokes of pink and blue, for example, do not create purple. The method is more akin to that of a tapestry, in which strands of the same colour reappear in other parts of the design, knitting it together visually. Whilst the multi-disciplinary ethos that Gauguin propagated amongst his followers in Pont-Aven undoubtedly stimulated the revival of medieval art forms, one has to look elsewhere to find the catalyst for O'Conor's invention of the 'stripe'. The spur was provided by an encounter with the paintings of the recently deceased Vincent Van Gogh, which O'Conor was perceptive enough to appreciate at a time when the Dutchman had not acquired any reputation to speak of. The precise details of the viewing are uncertain, but it could either have taken place privately via an introduction to Theo Van Gogh brokered by O'Conor's friend, Edward Brooks, or else publicly in the form of a visit to the Van Gogh memorial exhibition staged at Le Barc de Boutteville's gallery in Paris in April 1892. Whatever the venue, there can be no doubt that 1892 was a pivotal year for O'Conor because he was deeply moved and inspired, for the very first time, by the gyrating web of parallel lines that Van Gogh superimposed on fields, trees and clouds in his St Rémy landscapes. O'Conor would later describe these pictures as "wonderful expressions of character pushed to the point of hallucination". The discovery had a far-reaching effect on the young painter, enabling him to progress rapidly beyond the relatively conventional naturalism of The Cider Drinker (Queensland Art Gallery), and devise a more personal response to Vincent's dynamically configured compositions. The tentatively hatched and feathered brushstrokes of Still Life with Bottles (Tate, London) soon gave way to the bolder mark-making of Flowers, bottle and two jugs, in which the 'stripe' has attained its fully evolved state for the first time. Having inaugurated the method successfully in a still life, O'Conor went on to apply it with equal daring to landscapes and figure subjects, thus establishing the highly original and modern style that distinguished his art up until the time of his meeting with Gauguin two years later. One third of O'Conor's eighteen surviving 'striped' pictures are vested in major museum collections around the world, leaving no more than a dozen still in private hands. J.B.