PAUL HENRY, R.H.A., R.U.A.
ERRIGAL, COUNTY DONEGAL
signed l.r.: PAUL HENRY
oil on board
56 by 56cm., 22 by 22in.
Painted circa 1929.
The board appears sound and the work in very good overall condition. A minor, horizontal surface abrasion in the clouds near centre of upper edge. The work has recently had a light clean and is ready to hang.
Ultraviolet light reveals some minor cosmetic retouchings along upper edge, near the centre of the right edge; a small spot in the water near the land's ege in centre of composition and another in lower left corner.
Held in an ebony rippled frame.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Adam's, Dublin, 17 May 1990, lot 75;
Oriel Gallery, Dublin;
The Frederick Gallery, Dublin, where purchased by the present owner in 1998
Dublin, Oriel Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by Paul Henry and Frank McKelvey, 11 December 1990 - 26 January 1991, no.35
S. B. Kennedy, Paul Henry, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2007, no.713, p.245, illustrated
Lough, land, mountain, sky – Paul Henry’s forcefully simple composition draws the viewer’s eye inwards and upwards, inexorably imparting an onlooker’s feeling of awe before Errigal’s majesty. Rising to a height of 752 metres, the mountain is the highest in county Donegal, its conical shape a prominent feature in the northwest part of the country. Seen here looking north-eastwards across Lough Nacung, Henry probably painted the prospect in August 1929 while staying for a time with his elder brother Bob at McFadden’s Hotel, Gortahork. A prime example of the artist’s architectonic prowess, Henry assembles a compelling visual chiasmus to balance the profound blue weight of the mountain face with its ephemeral reflection, dynamically burgeoning clouds versus the water’s silvery surface, the dense penumbra of the foothills against the vital greens of the patchwork of fields.
Amid this grand, elemental scheme, quintessential rye-thatched white cottages present an intimation of humanity dwarfed by nature. Henry’s vision of a sublime and peaceful rural world, inhabited by a people at ease with their surroundings, would prove enduring. Many of his paintings were the subject of reproductions, including the present work which was recreated as an anonymous a colour print. Another painting from 1929 of the same title, depicting Errigal from a different angle, was replicated as a poster in the following year, and later widely circulated in the Irish Free State Handbook for its powerful national symbolism (Kennedy, 2007, no. 714, p. 245). The archetypal potency of Henry’s landscapes is epitomised by one critic’s reflection in 1930: ‘one feels instinctively that here is the true Ireland’ (Kennedy, op. cit., p. 68).