2017-09-27-2018-05-20 --- 2018-05-20 11:14:39--18
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LOT :23
Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)
Cottage Interior
Oil on board, 30 x 40cm
Estimate EUR : €25,000.00 - €35,000.00
Auction Date : 27-09-2017


Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)
Cottage Interior
Oil on board, 30 x 40cm
Signed; Inscribed with title verso

Born in Belfast, Gerard Dillon lived most of his life in urban environments which was in stark contrast to Connemara which he visited to seek out subject matter for his exhibitions. Enthralled by the daily lives of the people in the West of Ireland, the landscape evoked strong feelings, which Dillon expressed in his paintings throughout his life. In the early 1950s he rented a thatched cottage in Moyard situated between Clifden and Letterfrack, where he entertained friends and family from Belfast, Dublin and London. The layout of the cottage was a central type hearth with one principal room and another smaller room. Between 1950-1955, Dillon painted a series of works depicting the interior of this cottage under various titles. In 1953, this work, Cottage Interior was exhibited in Dillons second solo exhibition at Victor Waddingtons gallery and was chosen by Waddington to travel to America for Dillons solo exhibition at the Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco in 1954.

Known as Cloonederowen the cottage in Moyard was owned by the Baker family who lived nearby among a cluster of houses. In August, 1950, in search of his ancestors, the historian, Bernard

Smith visited Dillon in Moyard. He stayed a few days while Dillons sister, Molly was visiting. Writing to his wife, he described aspects of his visit,

ǪThe kettle seems to take hours to boil. When it rains, we read aloud from Ethel Mannins book on Connemara. She lives over at Clifden seven miles from here. She came over here seven years ago because her family seems to have come from Connemara, ǪǪHaving been unable to buy any saucepan in Letterfrack on Friday we had to boil the cabbages in the kettle and the potatoes in the teapot. Yesterday we managed to get a saucepan in ClifdenǪ
(A Pavane for another Time, Macmillan p, 402).

Seated on a low stool known as a creepy, an elderly figure is dozing beside the hearth in the sparsely furnished cottage as hens feed from crumbs on a floor. Common fireside appliances of a pot hanger, tongs, trivet and one oatmeal toaster are depicted near household domestic tools. Saucepans and a tea pot sit on a grate over a turf fire. The artists boots and clothes drying over the fire signify Dillons presence in the cottage. A fire burning at floor level, domestic appliances, and stray hens feature in other interior scenes from this cottage. The unidentified figure by the fire may be a neighbour, or a friend from the local village of Letterfrack.

These images of cottage interiors represent a time in Connemara when lives and traditions were simple. A turf fire burning continuously day and night dried clothes, brought warmth and allowed smoke to circulate among the rafters keeping the under thatch dry. Considered insanitary by the 1960s, lime washed cottages gave way to new fashions based on urban styles consisting of slated two story houses of cement-blocks with chimney flues. The open fire and furniture designed at low level disappeared with mechanisation. This cottage interior reminds us how effective floor level fires were at keeping people warm and preserving the thatched roof. As an urban dweller, Dillons attachment to these humble dwellings in small straggling rural villages in Connemara never altered during his life time.

Hammer Price : €46,000.00
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