2017-11-22-2018-12-19 --- 2018-12-19 01:20:40--18
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LOT :96
George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)
Estimate EUR : €5,000.00 - €8,000.00
Auction Date : 22-11-2017


George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)

Farmers at Bus Stop, Rhonda

Oil on board, 75 x 62.5cm (29½ x 24½'')
Signed; signed again and inscribed with title


Exhibited: George Campbell, Directions the Gallery 22, November, 1978, Cat No. 2


Attracted to Andalucías warm climate and low cost of living, Campbell annually traveled to Spain where he frequented Malagas La Buena Sombra, a large Inn where locals gathered to discuss literature, music and art. During his visits, Campbell liked to walk around the city making sketches of the people going about their daily lives, singing, dancing, shopping, selling tickets or waiting for trains and buses.


Campbell first visited Ronda in the 1950s and returned to the prehistoric city in the 1960s and 70s to seek out subject matter. Farmers at Bus Stop, Ronda was probably executed from a sketch when he traveled to the city in the late 1970s. The exhibition at The Gallery 22 in November, 1978 was to be Campbells last solo show in Dublin. Months earlier Campbell had contributed to the group exhibition with friends, Arthur Armstrong and Richard Kingston at the newly opened gallery by the Minister for Health, Charles J Haughey.


In the mid 1970s Campbell introduced a new softness into his work. Gentle fluent strokes replaced abstract shapes. Colour continued to suggest mood, but an element of mystery emerged from his subjects by changing how he handled paint. Ruined buildings, landscapes in Connemara and figurative paintings were stripped back and forms emerged with less detail. The posture of the men leaning against a wall and the single man standing are central to this work. Commenting on Campbells final works, Arthur Armstrong stated that Campbell enjoyed breaking down his paintings into little bits of pure magic. (George Campbell RHA, A Tribute, RTE, 1979)


By 1978, Campbell enjoyed the status of being a celebrity in Spain and Ireland from media appearances. Wishing for a quieter life, he purchased land in Laragh, Co. Wicklow with a view to spending longer periods away from the city of Dublin. For the first time since the early 1950s George and Madge Campbell did not go to Andalucía for the winter months. With their new house in Laragh almost finished, they went on a three-week holiday instead around the North of Spain. Speaking to a writer during the exhibition, George commented on his life as a painter Well I have always regarded myself as a worker painterǪ. I dont see painting as a kind of thing apart. It is part of my life, part of my whole fabric part of breathing and reading and eating and sleeping and walking and movingǪ (The Irish Times, 10/11/78, pg.10) Six months later, George Campbell died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage and was buried in Laragh, on a quiet tree-lined hill overlooking Glendalough.


Karen Reihill

October, 2017


Hammer Price : €5,000.00
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