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With Combridge's Gallery, Dublin, 1935, where possibly acquired by
C.W.E. Gibson, Hamilton, Ontario
Sale; Adams, Dublin, 6 December 1979, lot 23
Sale; Phillips, London, 25 November 1997, lot 24 (as On Killary Bay, Connemara), where acquired by
Jorgensen Fine Art, Dublin, where acquired by the family of the present owner
Thence by descent
Private Collection, U.K.
Possibly London, Fine Art Society, Four Irish Artists: J.H. Craig, Paul Henry, E.L. Lawrenson, J. Crampton Walker, March 1928, cat.no.91
Dublin, Combridge's Gallery, Recent Paintings of Kerry and Connemara by Paul Henry R.H.A., from May 1935, cat.no.9
Dublin, Jorgensen Fine Art, Spring Exhibition, from 9 March 1998, cat.no.1 (as On Killary Bay, Connemara)
David Dimbleby, A Picture of Britain, Tate Publishing, London, 2005, p.88 (col.ill.)
S.B. Kennedy, Paul Henry: Paintings, Drawings, Illustrations, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, p.237, cat.no.673 (ill.b&w)
Paul Henry's work captures the spirit and landscape of the west of Ireland in a manner which is quite unparalleled. Having first visited Achill in 1910, where he was captivated by the beauty of the region, he never grew tired of returning to it and portraying its majesty in changing seasons and views. As Dr S.B. Kennedy has commented, 'Almost single-handedly Paul Henry defined a view of the Irish landscape, in particular that of the west, that remains as convincing to modern eyes as it was in his own time. Like Constable's Suffolk and Cézanne's Provence, once experienced it is difficult to see the landscape of the west other than through Henry's eyes' (S.B. Kennedy, Paul Henry, National Gallery of Ireland exhibition catalogue, 2003, p.5).
Killary Bay, Connemara is a classic Paul Henry composition, referencing all that is desirable from the artist within an ideally sized panel. The artist's typical compositional technique has been employed in that most of the narrative has been kept to the lower half of the picture while the sky, with its heavy cumulus clouds, is given over to the upper half creating a dramatic elegance. The distant hills across the apparently calm water halt the eye's recession whilst in the foreground a cluster of cottages, well anchored by turf stacks, give a strong sense of habitation. A further turf stack appears in the immediate foreground next to the roadway, which has been painted in rich impasto, enhancing the sense of structure to this idyllic scene.
The compositional arrangement of Killary Bay, Connemara illustrates Henry's ability to get to the essence of his subject matter as Whistler, his teacher in Paris, had instructed, observing things in simple, direct terms and setting them down harmoniously in closely modulated tones. It is an approach which underpins much of the artist's best work, earning him a reputation as Ireland's finest modern landscape artist. There is a sense of overall freshness and clear air pervading Killary Bay, Connemara, which is quite typical of works from this period and places the present example as amongst his finest.