2017-09-27-2018-05-21 --- 2018-05-21 11:48:44--18
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LOT :64
Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)
A Matter of Opinion
Oil on canvas laid on board, 34.5 x 54.5cm (13½ x 21½'')
Estimate EUR : €15,000.00 - €20,000.00
Auction Date : 27-09-2017


Gerard Dillon (1916-1971)
A Matter of Opinion
Oil on canvas laid on board, 34.5 x 54.5cm (13½ x 21½'')

Provenance: From the collection of St. Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham and acquired directly from them in the early 1970s by the current owner.

Stylistically this works dates from the mid 1940s when Dillon moved away from urban subjects but images still retained humour. Living in Dublin and Belfast during the war, Dillon depicted subjects of events around him, ballet scenes, plays from the theatre, and bombed building in the aftermath of the Blitz in Belfast. After a visit to the Aran Islands in 1944 Dillon stripped back his compositions and subject matter appeared with less detail. Figures typically appear in a simple and childlike manner often containing symbolism to evoke a message. In an interview in 1964, Dillon reflected on his early paintings, there was always a slightly humorous element in my early painting how it got there I dont know. Must have been because life amused me. (Irish Times, 24/9/64)

The title, A Matter of Opinion is a clue to the narrative of this painting. Three figures are depicted in a rural landscape, each one with a different opinion on a decision that has occurred. In the foreground, a male figure with a pale complexion stares blankly out towards the viewer. On the left, a slim woman in a white dress casts her eyes downwards in reaction to the males opinion. On the right, a larger, less attractive woman clasping her hands together dressed in bright colours smiles at the couple in the foreground. The male has chosen which women is to be his future partner, and by the snooty expression on the face of the female on the left, she is not happy at his decision. Elements in the composition suggest the characters may be inspired from a play. The red cape and humorous facial expressions are suggestive of a staged performance. Referring to Dillons humour, George Campbell fondly recalled that every day spent in Dillons company left something worth remembering, more especially his great humour-puckish, clownish and accurate in it's aim. (Irish Times, 8.7.71. pg10)

Never seen in public before, this work was part of a collection of modern British and Irish paintings collected by Father Cronin of the Vincentian Order at St. Marys College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham in the 1950s and 1960s. The collection included works by Graham Sutherland and John Piper. From 1945 Gerard Dillon contributed to group exhibitions in London at the Léger, Leicester, Redfern, and Berkeley gallery, so it is likely Father Cronin purchased this painting at one of these galleries.

Karen Reihill
August, 2017



Hammer Price : €10,000.00
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