2017-11-22-2018-10-24 --- 2018-10-24 04:14:17--18
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LOT :39
Basil Blackshaw HRHA RUA (1932-2016)
Estimate EUR : €25,000.00 - €35,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


Basil Blackshaw HRHA RUA (1932-2016)


Oil on canvas, 87 x 103cm (34 x 41")


Provenance: The Eamonn Mallie Collection, acquired directly from the artist.


Literature: One Hundred Years of Irish Art, edited by Eamonn Mallie, illustrated to represent Basil Blackshaw's work p.77


Blackshaw painted two of these large nude works of his model Jude Stephens around the same period in the early Nineties. They are both powerful statements breaking so many rules of composition and art.


The positioning of Jude, his model, horizontally against a background of rows of perpendicular strong marks sends one message - absolute confidence and sure-footedness - no compromise.

This painting has echoes of the art practice of German artist Baselitz (no relation of Basil's by the way) in the placing of the nude.


Looking at a photograph of this painting the viewer is tempted to spin the image around which is not the case when looking at the original which is portrait shape.


What is immediately striking are the mere marks Blackshaw deploys to tilt at filling in the physiognomy ..... very European in tendency with a suggestion of a gash for a mouth. The raw femininity of the sitter is undisguised with a total commitment through use of bold brush strokes to work out the geometry of the female form. What Basil calls 'the white bits' (breasts) amount to the playfulness of the artist. Jude had been abroad on holidays and being the shy retiring lady (my eye she is !) she didn't go topless hence the contrast in her tan. Basil repeated this theme in a much larger work in the Ferguson estate also called 'The White Bits.

This painting in a domestic setting has a powerful presence and is one of Blackshaw's statements of absolute courage in the vein of Lucian Freud whom he greatly admired.

Eamonn Mallie


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