Old-Age Pensioners signed 'Paul Henry' (lower right) oil on canvas 35.6 x 40.6 cm. (14 x 16 in.) Painted in 1911
PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale; Adam's, Dublin, 15 September 1982, lot 160 With The Oriel Gallery, Dublin, where purchased by the present owner, circa 1990s Private Collection, Ireland
EXHIBITED: Dublin, Leinster Hall, Paintings by Mrs Frances Baker, Grace Henry, Paul Henry, Casimir Dunin-Markiewicz and George Russell (AE), 16-21 October 1911, cat.no.10 Belfast, Pollock's Gallery, Pictures by Mr & Mrs Paul Henry, 17 February-1 March 1913, cat.no.13 (as Old-Age Pensions)
LITERATURE: S.B. Kennedy, Paul Henry with a catalogue of the Paintings Drawings Illustrations, Yale University Press New Haven & London, 2007, cat.no.335, p.161 (ill.b&w)
When Paul Henry first settled on Achill Island in the summer of 1910 he was attracted by the local populace and the, often difficult, lives they led. At that time the red dress'petticoats', Henry termed themwas almost universal among the older women who, he felt, 'had an instinctive sense of good colour' (Henry, An Irish Portrait, London, 1951, p. 56). The two elderly pensioners depicted here clearly illustrate these sentiments. They are 'happy in possession of their pensions...the painting is so fresh and spontaneous', said the Belfast News-Letter on 17 February 1913 in its review of Henry's exhibition in Belfast that year. The setting is no doubt Achill and probably the village of Keel.
We are grateful to Dr S.B. Kennedy for compiling this catalogue entry.