2017-09-27-2018-06-23 --- 2018-06-23 18:32:49--18
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LOT :59
William Conor RHA PRUA ROI OBE (1881-1968)
The Launch
Oil on board, 77 x 64cm (30¼ x 25¼'')
Estimate EUR : €20,000.00 - €30,000.00
Auction Date : 27-09-2017


William Conor RHA PRUA ROI OBE (1881-1968)
The Launch
Oil on board, 77 x 64cm (30¼ x 25¼'')

Provenance: The Bell Gallery (original label verso), where purchased by the late Brian McRoberts; 'The Brian McRoberts Collection' exhibition and sale, The Bell Gallery, June 1982, Catalogue No.2, where purchased by UTV.

Exhibited: 'A Selection from the UTV Collection', RHA, April 1993; "40 Years of Ulster Art", The Waterfront Hall, November / December 1999;
"The UTV Art Collection" Exhibitions including this work held at:
Omagh, January / February 1993; Monaghan County Museum; September 1993; The Crawford Gallery, Cork April / May 1994; The Waterfront Hall, April 2003; The Naughton Gallery, Queens University Belfast, January / February 2006

Literature: 'UTV Art Collection', 2009, illustrated p.23.


This work is thought to date from around 1923 when the artist exhibited an oil called ''The Launch'' (Private Collection) at the Goupil Gallery in London and features on the front cover of the book by Judith Wilson on the artist. In the review of that exhibition, in the magazine ''Colour'', the reviewer indicates a sympathy with, and understanding of, Conor's approach to painting :- ''The reaction of the life struggle in a manufacturing community upon the individual is nearly always the basis on which his art is founded. This idea pervades the fine painting ''The Launch'' one of his most recent achievements. Here the interest does not centre on the spectacle of the great ship sliding magnificently down the slip, but on the figures of the shipyard workers who watch intently the seal of final success set upon their labours .....''. In some ways we think that this current version of ''The Launch'' is even more atmospheric with a greater number of shipbuilders involved, the emphasis is on them and not on those up top. This work is very choreographic and has a striking sensual movement... the men at the base of the huge liner which is seen in semi-profile having a diagonal space in the work... the shipyard cranes... an incredible, perfect and daring composition - the workers wave good-bye to their long toil. Another work that is very similar in composition to this one is also called ''The Launchand is in the collection of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.Nearly all the people he has used in his paintings are intensely real and vital and his representations of them are social history as much as distinctive works of art. Conor said ''I loved the working men in their dungarees and the factory girls in their shawls, I knew them well as I was one of them''.


Our thanks to Nelson Bell for his help in cataloguing this lot.


Hammer Price : €33,000.00
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