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LOT :36
William John Leech RHA (1881-1968) Interior of a Cafe (1908) Oil on canvas, 73.7 x 83.8cm (29 x 33'') Signed and dated 1908 Provenance : Purchased at the RHA 1909 by the Hon. Lawrence Waldron; Subsequently bought by Senator Brennan who left it to Harry Clarke,who in turn left it to Lennox Robinson; Purchased from the Dawson Gallery, Dublin 11/12/1950 for ?150 (A photocopy of the original receipt will be given to the new owner) by the present owner's father and thence by descent. Exhibited: Royal Institute of Oil Painters, 1908, Cat. No. 400 priced ?80; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1909, Cat. No. 81 priced ?63 where purchased by the Hon. Lawrence Waldron; Salon des Artistes Fran?ais, Paris, 1914; where awarded a bronze medal; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1969, ''William John Leech Memorial Panel'' No. 4; ''Irish Art from Private Collections 1870 - 1930'' Wexford Arts Centre, 1977, Cat. No. 29; ''The Irish Impressionists'', The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1984, Cat. No. 117; ''The Irish Impressionists'' The Ulster Museum, Belfast Cat. No. 117; 1996 The National Gallery of Ireland ''William John Leech: An Irish Painter Abroad'' Cat. No 4; 1997 Exhibition above toured to Mus?e des Beaux Arts, Quimper and the Ulster Museum Belfast. Literature: ''Painters of Ireland: 1660 - 1920'' by Anne Crookshank and The Knight of Glin 1979 P275 (Ill. p 278) 'The Irish Impressionists'' by Julian Campbell NGI 1984 P260 ''Leech in Brittany'' by Dr Denise Ferran Irish Arts Review 1993 P227 ''William John Leech'' by Dr Denise Ferran 1992 p12 - 13 ''Les Peintres de Concarneau'' by H. Beleoch 1993 France P154 ''William John Leech: An Irish Painter Abroad'' by Dr Denise Ferran 1996 P103 (Ill p105) Some suspicion and slight distancing of the peasants from the artist/viewer can be detected in this work of 1908, which combines the group of peasants and their bar interior into a meticulously finished studio painting. The old peasant sitting becapped at the extreme left is the subject in 'A man with a bottle' (private collection). Since that is dated 1903, it seems probably that Leech worked on this painting for a long time. Here the man sits amicably drinking a cup of coffee with two of his friends - one of whom has a small liqueur glass on the table in front of him. All three look toil-worn with shoulders rounded by work in the fields, with bent backs and expressively painted boned hands. It is especially in the face of the standing figure that the viewer can detect distrust and suspicion. It is possible that Leech worked from a photograph or a postcard to complete the details of the bar interior, especially in the row of bottles above the bar, and added the figures from studio poses. The exaggerated space in the foreground, which directs the eye to the figures in the middle distance, suggests the angle of a camera lens, and the questioning gaze of the standing figure captures a momentary 'off guard' expression. The well stocked shelves of bottles and china cups which glisten in the reflected light and shine under the brass lamp may possibly be those of the Hotel des Voyageurs, where Leech stayed from 1907. Leech conveys the intimacy of this darkened interior, disturbed by the intrusion of light from the left, perhaps from a door, just opened. The gentle, withdrawn figure of a young girl reading, silhouetted against the lacy curtains of the lighted window, creating depth with light on dark, in a series of decreasing rectangles. The painting of the head and shoulders of a young red-haired woman in the framed picture on the wall of the cafe interior indicates the direction Leech's painting style was to take. Its simplified, bold areas of paint, lightened palette and strong play of light depart from the more academic treatment of the room's interior. 'Interior of a cafe' is a carefully constructed composition which combines drawing from life into a meticulously 'finished' studio panting. Here he makes use of sunlight and shadows to contrast the lighted areas of the three faces engrossed in conversation in dramatic chiaroscuro against the brown shadows which verge into black. To the right, enveloped in shadow, is the figure of a fourth man who waits, leaning on the counter, seeking service. When Leech exhibited 'Interior of a cafe' at the RHA in Dublin in 1909, the review in The Irish Times declared: ''His interiors of French cafes are distinguished by a brilliance of execution, a realistic treatment, and a mastery of composition, which makes them singularly attractive.'' Leech had exhibited another work, 'Interior of a kitchen - Brittany' (whereabouts unknown) at the RHA in 1908, showing his interest at that time in the intimiste world of darkened interiors. The work failed to sell, however, and Leech exhibited it at the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil that October. It was possibly this work which was exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Francais in 1913, for which he was awarded a Bronze Medal. Leech later stated that the Salon work was bought by an American gallery in Philadelphia, but extensive research has failed to trace it. Leech also exhibited an Interior of a cafe in the Sinn Fein-organized exhibition 'Aonach', in Dublin, in December 1909. The review in Sinn Fein recognized that 'The picture of the Interior of a Cafe shows him to be a skilled draughtsman, possessing masterly technique...'' Dr. Denise Ferran
Estimate EUR : €200,000.00 - €400,000.00
Auction Date : 30-05-2012

Description

William John Leech RHA (1881-1968) Interior of a Cafe (1908) Oil on canvas, 73.7 x 83.8cm (29 x 33'') Signed and dated 1908 Provenance : Purchased at the RHA 1909 by the Hon. Lawrence Waldron; Subsequently bought by Senator Brennan who left it to Harry Clarke,who in turn left it to Lennox Robinson; Purchased from the Dawson Gallery, Dublin 11/12/1950 for ?150 (A photocopy of the original receipt will be given to the new owner) by the present owner's father and thence by descent. Exhibited: Royal Institute of Oil Painters, 1908, Cat. No. 400 priced ?80; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1909, Cat. No. 81 priced ?63 where purchased by the Hon. Lawrence Waldron; Salon des Artistes Fran?ais, Paris, 1914; where awarded a bronze medal; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1969, ''William John Leech Memorial Panel'' No. 4; ''Irish Art from Private Collections 1870 - 1930'' Wexford Arts Centre, 1977, Cat. No. 29; ''The Irish Impressionists'', The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1984, Cat. No. 117; ''The Irish Impressionists'' The Ulster Museum, Belfast Cat. No. 117; 1996 The National Gallery of Ireland ''William John Leech: An Irish Painter Abroad'' Cat. No 4; 1997 Exhibition above toured to Mus?e des Beaux Arts, Quimper and the Ulster Museum Belfast. Literature: ''Painters of Ireland: 1660 - 1920'' by Anne Crookshank and The Knight of Glin 1979 P275 (Ill. p 278) 'The Irish Impressionists'' by Julian Campbell NGI 1984 P260 ''Leech in Brittany'' by Dr Denise Ferran Irish Arts Review 1993 P227 ''William John Leech'' by Dr Denise Ferran 1992 p12 - 13 ''Les Peintres de Concarneau'' by H. Beleoch 1993 France P154 ''William John Leech: An Irish Painter Abroad'' by Dr Denise Ferran 1996 P103 (Ill p105) Some suspicion and slight distancing of the peasants from the artist/viewer can be detected in this work of 1908, which combines the group of peasants and their bar interior into a meticulously finished studio painting. The old peasant sitting becapped at the extreme left is the subject in 'A man with a bottle' (private collection). Since that is dated 1903, it seems probably that Leech worked on this painting for a long time. Here the man sits amicably drinking a cup of coffee with two of his friends - one of whom has a small liqueur glass on the table in front of him. All three look toil-worn with shoulders rounded by work in the fields, with bent backs and expressively painted boned hands. It is especially in the face of the standing figure that the viewer can detect distrust and suspicion. It is possible that Leech worked from a photograph or a postcard to complete the details of the bar interior, especially in the row of bottles above the bar, and added the figures from studio poses. The exaggerated space in the foreground, which directs the eye to the figures in the middle distance, suggests the angle of a camera lens, and the questioning gaze of the standing figure captures a momentary 'off guard' expression. The well stocked shelves of bottles and china cups which glisten in the reflected light and shine under the brass lamp may possibly be those of the Hotel des Voyageurs, where Leech stayed from 1907. Leech conveys the intimacy of this darkened interior, disturbed by the intrusion of light from the left, perhaps from a door, just opened. The gentle, withdrawn figure of a young girl reading, silhouetted against the lacy curtains of the lighted window, creating depth with light on dark, in a series of decreasing rectangles. The painting of the head and shoulders of a young red-haired woman in the framed picture on the wall of the cafe interior indicates the direction Leech's painting style was to take. Its simplified, bold areas of paint, lightened palette and strong play of light depart from the more academic treatment of the room's interior. 'Interior of a cafe' is a carefully constructed composition which combines drawing from life into a meticulously 'finished' studio panting. Here he makes use of sunlight and shadows to contrast the lighted areas of the three faces engrossed in conversation in dramatic chiaroscuro against the brown shadows which verge into black. To the right, enveloped in shadow, is the figure of a fourth man who waits, leaning on the counter, seeking service. When Leech exhibited 'Interior of a cafe' at the RHA in Dublin in 1909, the review in The Irish Times declared: ''His interiors of French cafes are distinguished by a brilliance of execution, a realistic treatment, and a mastery of composition, which makes them singularly attractive.'' Leech had exhibited another work, 'Interior of a kitchen - Brittany' (whereabouts unknown) at the RHA in 1908, showing his interest at that time in the intimiste world of darkened interiors. The work failed to sell, however, and Leech exhibited it at the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil that October. It was possibly this work which was exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Francais in 1913, for which he was awarded a Bronze Medal. Leech later stated that the Salon work was bought by an American gallery in Philadelphia, but extensive research has failed to trace it. Leech also exhibited an Interior of a cafe in the Sinn Fein-organized exhibition 'Aonach', in Dublin, in December 1909. The review in Sinn Fein recognized that 'The picture of the Interior of a Cafe shows him to be a skilled draughtsman, possessing masterly technique...'' Dr. Denise Ferran

Hammer Price : €200,000.00
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