2017-11-22-2018-12-19 --- 2018-12-19 02:28:46--18
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LOT :134
Basil Blackshaw HRHA RUA (1932-2016)
Estimate EUR : €5,000.00 - €7,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


Basil Blackshaw HRHA RUA (1932-2016)

Van Morrison (1995)

Oil on newsprint, 13 x 20 (5 x 8)


Provenance: The Eamonn Mallie Collection


Literature: Basil Blackshaw by Eamonn Mallie, illustrated Plate 115, p.269

Irish Times art critic Aidan Dunne branded Northern Ireland artist Basil Blackshaw "an art delinquent." He summed him up beautifully. An 'edge of society man, Blackshaw loved boxing, rearing game cocks, going to cock fights along the Armagh/Monaghan border with Paddy Heaney, father of Seamus Heaney. Blackshaw loved markets people, travellers, doggy men, horsey people, boxing, point to points and so on. These subjects all figured in his oeuvre over his long creative life.


So often accident played a big part in Blackshaw's choice of subject as in the case of the present Van Morrison portrait. During research on the Northern Ireland Peace Process former Taoiseach, Charles J. Haughey asked me if I knew Basil Blackshaw. Informing him I did he asked me to ask him if he would paint his Irish Grand National winner 'Flashing Steel.' Blackshaw agreed and in the wake of delivering Flashing Steel, Blackshaw generously said "I'll do a wee drawing for you for getting me that commission."

Some time later he arranged for me to sit for him as he planned to paint my portrait illustrated in this catalogue. While sitting patiently in Blackshaw's studio as he worked away behind the canvas and easel I spotted a small image across the floor and queried "what is that Basil?. He proceeded to explain while cleaning his brushes one evening he caught sight of a Dublin newspaper with a photo of Van Morrison and a well know lady by his side. Blackshaw was immediately prompted to work on Morrison, choosing to erase the image of his female companion whose jaw line continues to obtain in the painting. Morrison's hat and half lit face were the end product of Blackshaw's efforts. Some time later he handed me the Van Morrison painting to thank me for my support along the way.

Eamonn Mallie


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