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LOT :84
Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Achill Horses Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 66cm (36 x 26'') Signed and dated 1938 Provenance: From the collection of the late Dr. Eileen McCarvill, her sale, James Adam & Sons, 10th July 1986, Catalogue No. 80; Taylor deVeres 11th June 1996, Catalogue No. 16, where purchased by current owner Achill Horses is part of a series of paintings made in the late 1930s when Jellett began to produce more representational subjects than her previous austere compositions. Her visit to the major exhibition of Chinese art in London in 1935 had a profound effect on her ideas about art. She saw close connections between the unity of image and pattern found in 10th and 11th century Chinese painting and that seen in early Celtic Irish art such as the Book of Kells. Landscape was an important theme in Chinese art and upon returning to Ireland after visiting the exhibition Jellett immediately went to stay in Achill. The resulting works apply the lessons of Chinese art along with her knowledge of cubist form to the West of Ireland landscape. A recurring subject is that of horses roaming freely in the Achill countryside. Jellett's use of a modern abstract style to depict the West was in marked contrast to the dominant realist mode of presenting the region as found in the work of her contemporaries Paul Henry and Charles Lamb. Her success in creating a new visual language for rural Ireland was confirmed by the fact Jellett was chosen to create murals representing the life and people of Ireland for the Free State's pavilion at the Glasgow Empire Exhibition in 1938. One of the ten scenes depicted was horses grazing in the West of Ireland. This commission was, along with Chinese art, a catalyst for the development of the Achill Horses series. Another version of the subject, Achill Horses II, (1938, National Gallery of Ireland) was shown at the Glasgow exhibition and was also included in the Irish pavilion at the New York World Fair the following year. Using a broad range of colours from earthy browns and reds to olive greens and pale pink Jellett creates a dynamic composition based on three horses. Two are standing on elevated ground silhouetted against a sky filled with spiralling forms suggestive of light and movement. They are balanced by the figure of the horse on the lower register whose darker colours anchor the structure of the painting. The animals' bodies form the fulcrums of the composition with circular and linear forms emanating from them. Like her earlier more severe abstract paintings Achill Horses has an inner rhythm and movement. The relationships of colours and forms have been carefully orchestrated to maintain an overall sense of unity and balance. This is extended even to the framing line of harmonising colours which surrounds the edge of the composition. The painting differs from Achill Horses II in its more angular forms and darker colours. Its opaque grainy surface gives the painting a mural-like quality which reflects Jellett's interest in enduring traditions of art-making and her uniting of a modern cubist style to older pre Renaissance practices. Dr. R?is?n Kennedy April 2012
Estimate EUR : €30,000.00 - €50,000.00
Auction Date : 30-05-2012

Description

Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Achill Horses Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 66cm (36 x 26'') Signed and dated 1938 Provenance: From the collection of the late Dr. Eileen McCarvill, her sale, James Adam & Sons, 10th July 1986, Catalogue No. 80; Taylor deVeres 11th June 1996, Catalogue No. 16, where purchased by current owner Achill Horses is part of a series of paintings made in the late 1930s when Jellett began to produce more representational subjects than her previous austere compositions. Her visit to the major exhibition of Chinese art in London in 1935 had a profound effect on her ideas about art. She saw close connections between the unity of image and pattern found in 10th and 11th century Chinese painting and that seen in early Celtic Irish art such as the Book of Kells. Landscape was an important theme in Chinese art and upon returning to Ireland after visiting the exhibition Jellett immediately went to stay in Achill. The resulting works apply the lessons of Chinese art along with her knowledge of cubist form to the West of Ireland landscape. A recurring subject is that of horses roaming freely in the Achill countryside. Jellett's use of a modern abstract style to depict the West was in marked contrast to the dominant realist mode of presenting the region as found in the work of her contemporaries Paul Henry and Charles Lamb. Her success in creating a new visual language for rural Ireland was confirmed by the fact Jellett was chosen to create murals representing the life and people of Ireland for the Free State's pavilion at the Glasgow Empire Exhibition in 1938. One of the ten scenes depicted was horses grazing in the West of Ireland. This commission was, along with Chinese art, a catalyst for the development of the Achill Horses series. Another version of the subject, Achill Horses II, (1938, National Gallery of Ireland) was shown at the Glasgow exhibition and was also included in the Irish pavilion at the New York World Fair the following year. Using a broad range of colours from earthy browns and reds to olive greens and pale pink Jellett creates a dynamic composition based on three horses. Two are standing on elevated ground silhouetted against a sky filled with spiralling forms suggestive of light and movement. They are balanced by the figure of the horse on the lower register whose darker colours anchor the structure of the painting. The animals' bodies form the fulcrums of the composition with circular and linear forms emanating from them. Like her earlier more severe abstract paintings Achill Horses has an inner rhythm and movement. The relationships of colours and forms have been carefully orchestrated to maintain an overall sense of unity and balance. This is extended even to the framing line of harmonising colours which surrounds the edge of the composition. The painting differs from Achill Horses II in its more angular forms and darker colours. Its opaque grainy surface gives the painting a mural-like quality which reflects Jellett's interest in enduring traditions of art-making and her uniting of a modern cubist style to older pre Renaissance practices. Dr. R?is?n Kennedy April 2012

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