2017-09-27-2017-09-20 --- 2017-09-20 03:11:05--18
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LOT :39
Patrick Collins HRHA (1911-1994)
Fields on the Mountain I
Oil on board, 60 x 76cm (23½ x 30'')
Estimate EUR : €10,000.00 - €15,000.00
Auction Date : 27-09-2017

Description

Patrick Collins HRHA (1911-1994)
Fields on the Mountain I
Oil on board, 60 x 76cm (23½ x 30'')
Signed

Provenance: 'Patrick Collins Exhibition', The Ritchie Hendriks Gallery, Dublin, May 1967, Catalogue No.6, where purchased and thence by descent to current owner.

Patrick Collins (1911 - 1994) was one of the most important painters of landscape in Ireland in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. His popularity was largely due to his unique depictions of a land shrouded in layers of mist that could read equally convincingly as wrapped in memory and mystery. As with Fields on the Mountain I (1967), his work rarely refers topographically but instead attempts to present an essential image of Ireland as a whole. This work and its companion piece Fields on the Mountain II, now in the collection of Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and shown in the touring exhibition, The Delighted Eye (1980) emerged from what is arguably Collinss most successful and popular period, when his work became progressively more romantic and expressionist.

Collins was largely self-taught, apart from evening classes at the National College of Art and occasional classes with the portrait painter, George Collie RHA, from whom he would have learned the rudiments of oil painting but little else, and he spoke of his interest in Jack .B. Yeats, Nathaniel Hone the Younger and Paul Henry among Irish artists. While his work was certainly influenced by Yeats and especially the older artists application of paint, his interest in the other two artists focused on their approach to landscape. He particularly admired Paul Henry for turning his back on possibly more lucrative subjects in the 1920s to concentrate on Irish bogs. Paul Henry and the 17th century Dutch artists who are largely credited with inventing landscape had an identifiable audience for their work in mind, people who no longer lived on the land or knew how to work it. Collins was not primarily interested in nostalgia and especially not urban nostalgia. He felt that he had no choice but to paint the Irish landscape. As he told Brian Lynch, its the field I plough. I have nothing else.

Fields on the Mountain I repeats a number of essential elements that Collins identified in that landscape and employed with considerable subtlety. The absence of hard edges and right angles is a marked feature of this painting, as is the halo effect of light surrounding the cluster of fields and cottages in the middle distance. Apart from travellers, Collins rarely included a human presence in his landscapes. It is only hinted at here through the obvious signs of habitation and agriculture but he was particularly sensitive to the shimmering reflections of marshy ground and coastal inlets. All are cocooned here in a typical Collins motif, a virtual frame within a frame, of mottled soft grey-purple. This is symbolic of his vision of the island as a whole which despite a period spent living in France remained his chosen ground. Frances Ruane, described him as consciously isolationist in his painting and went on to say that if there really is a Celtic imagination, Collins must have it.

Catherine Marshall
August 2017

 

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