Paul Henry R.H.A. (Irish, 1876-1958) Bog Pool 50.8 x 62.6 cm. (20 x 24 5/8 in.)

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Lot 20* AR
Paul Henry R.H.A.
(Irish, 1876-1958)
Bog Pool 50.8 x 62.6 cm. (20 x 24 5/8 in.)

£ 60,000 - 80,000
US$ 77,000 - 100,000
Paul Henry R.H.A. (Irish, 1876-1958)
Bog Pool
signed 'PAUL HENRY' (lower right)
oil on canvas
50.8 x 62.6 cm. (20 x 24 5/8 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The Artist, from whom acquired directly by the family of the present owner, circa 1917
    Thence by descent
    Private Collection, U.S.A.

    'I am so pleased to think that my pictures have given such pleasure to you and your friends. Personally I have often thought "what is the good of painting little pictures of beautiful things when the world seems so full of ugly thoughts and deeds", but if these little pictures have brought any beauty and sweetness into some peoples lives their existence has been justified' (The artist in a letter to the present owner's grandmother, 10 May 1918).

    The present work has remained in the same private collection for over one hundred years since its acquisition from the artist circa 1917. The family supported Paul Henry in his early career purchasing a number of paintings and a collection of six letters from Paul Henry to them discussing the acquisitions is included with this lot.

    Depicting a flat landscape with piles of turf stacked neatly into regular mounds, the 'bog pool' of the title snakes its way amongst the stacks from the foreground into the distance. The still water is calm and mirrors serene reflections of the sky and muddy stacks whilst the clouds, always a feature of Paul Henry's work, take up almost two thirds of the composition and are dark, almost foreboding. The arrangement (and palette) illustrate 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 Henry's best work. Through the sombre setting however, glimpses of green fields are seen on the horizon line, where the sky brightens and offers hope that the storm is passing.

    Whilst turf stacks and bogs were a prevailing theme throughout his career, Henry painted a number of these compositions between 1916 and 1920 specifically and whilst one cannot be certain as to the location depicted, the present work bears a close similarity to Turf Stacks in Donegal (see S.B. Kennedy, Paul Henry, with a Catalogue of the Paintings, Drawings, Illustrations, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007, cat.no.463, p.195 (ill.b&w)).

    We are grateful to S.B. Kennedy for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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