A FIGURE RECLINING ON A COUCH
stamped verso: atelier O'CONOR
oil on canvas
54 by 63.5cm., 21¼ by 25in.
Painted circa 1909-10.
Original canvas. The work appears in good overall condition.
Ultravoilet light reveals an opaque varnish. There are two areas of retouching near the upper right corner which relate to repaired tears, which have been well executed. A few further flecks of retouching in the upper right corner. Two further small spots in the green above the model's leg near the right edge.
Held in a gilt composite 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."
Hotel Drouot, Paris, Vent O'Conor, 7 February 1956;
Blache, Versailles, 9 March 1975, no.114;
Christie's and Hamilton & Hamilton Ltd., Castletown House, Co. Kildare, 29 May 1980, no.125;
The Oriel Gallery, Dublin, where purchased by the present owner in 1981
Jonathan Benington, Roderic O'Conor, Dublin, 1992, no.138, p.206-7
The present work is one of three surviving variations of the same subject, and the only one in which the model's right arm is not tucked beneath her head. The table in the background supporting a wine bottle and glasses seems to suggest a narrative, as if the artist wants us to believe that the young woman has succumbed to a drink-induced slumber. Such use of functional still life objects in a figure painting by O'Conor is unusual. Although open to interpretation, the subject may have sprung from an admiration for the sort of gritty social realism practised by Toulouse Lautrec, whose prints the Irishman avidly collected.
The picture has been painted with great speed and confidence. The technique makes extensive use of linear strokes of the brush, deployed both as outlines and as an abbreviated form of shading. The parallel vertical strokes in the background are an echo of O’Conor’s famous ‘striped’ technique of fifteen years earlier, as is the dramatic juxtaposition of large areas of the complimentary colours, green and red. It could well be the case that this is a transitional work, painted within a few years of the artist’s move in 1904 from rural Pont-Aven to cosmopolitan Paris.