View full screen - View 1 of Lot 32. The Newly Married Man | L'homme nouvellement marié.

Sean Keating

The Newly Married Man | L'homme nouvellement marié

Sean Keating

Sean Keating

The Newly Married Man | L'homme nouvellement marié

The Newly Married Man | L'homme nouvellement marié

Sean Keating

1899 - 1977

The Newly Married Man

signed KEATING (lower right); also signed and indistinctly inscribed (on the reverse)

oil on canvas

unframed: 93 by 106cm.; 36¾ by 41¾in.

framed: 106 by 121cm.; 41¾ by 47¾in.

Executed in 1919. 

We are grateful to Dr Éimear O'Connor for her kind assistance with the cataloguing of the present work.


Sean Keating

1899 - 1977

L'homme nouvellement marié

signé KEATING (en bas à droite) ; également signé et inscrit indistinctement (au revers)

huile sur toile

san cadre: 93 by 106cm.; 36¾ by 41¾in.

avec cadre: 106 by 121cm.; 41¾ by 47¾in.

Exécuté en 1919. 

Nous remercions le Dr Éimear O'Connor pour son aimable assistance dans le catalogage du présent ouvrage.

The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd. Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to what certainly appears to be the artist's original, keyed wooden stretcher with one central vertical cross member. There are slight stretcher bar marks. The tacking and turnover edges have been reinforced with a strip lining. This is ensuring an even and stable structural support. The painting was not removed from the frame for the purpose of this examination. Paint Surface The paint surface is stable and has an even varnish layer. Inspection under ultraviolet light shows the paint surface to fluoresce very unevenly due to the nature of the artist's materials and technique as well as uneveness resulting from the selective cleaning of the opaque varnish layers. Ultraviolet light highlights small scattered retouchings including a few spots in the sky and a few small spots along the lower horizontal framing edge corresponding to the stretcher bar. There may be further retouchings beneath old opaque varnish layers which are not easily identifiable under ultraviolet light. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition.

Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.

Please note: Condition XVI of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot. (Veuillez noter que l'Article XVI des Conditions Générales de Vente applicables aux Vendeurs (Ventes Effectuées Exclusivement en Ligne) n'est pas applicable pour ce lot.)

The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Commissioned by Albert Woods in 1919

Gifted to Sir Henry Augustus Robinson in 1923

Acquired by the father of the present owner circa 1970 and thence by descent


Commandé par Albert Woods en 1919

Offert à Sir Henry Augustus Robinson en 1923

Acheté par le père de l'actuel propriétaire vers 1970, puis par descendance

Limerick born artist, Seán Keating, married May Walsh in July 1919. She was from Eadestown in County Kildare, but had been brought up in Spain. The couple met when she returned from Spain in 1916. Marriage brought responsibilities, but it was not until later in 1919 that Keating managed to secure a part time job at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. Prior to that, it had been on his mind to emigrate. However, Keating had good friends, none of whom wanted to see him emigrate. One of those friends was the lawyer, Albert Woods, who acted for Sean Moylan, another good friend of the artist.

Woods, very much in the manner of a patron, commissioned several works from Keating between 1918 and 1922, including a full size portrait of Moylan (1921-22). He also commissioned The Newly Married Man in 1919. By that stage Keating was well known for his self-portraits in which he featured as a man of the Aran Islands, a place to which another friend, the stained glass artist, Harry Clarke, had introduced him in 1912.

The scene illustrates an idealised version of Inís Óir, one of the three islands of Aran off the west coast of Galway. Keating stands with his back to the beach, his left hand holding an oar, proudly dressed in full Aran clothing, with a knitted belt known as a crios, and soft slipper like shoes made from calf skin, and known as pampooties. His wife, May, wearing a typical Aran shawl, kneels beside him, her left hand on a button of his bainín jacket. Two fishermen stand with their backs to the couple, a small fishing boat known as a currach at their feet, while in the far background, a boat known as a Galway hooker has cast anchor to unload turf for the locals. The spectacle would not have looked out of place on the stage of the Abbey Theatre at the time.

There is an entertaining explanation for the rather melodramatic poses of the ‘newly married couple.’ That same year, 1919, Keating received a commission for a full set of paintings of the Stations of the Cross for Clongowes Wood College, a boarding school for boys in County Kildare. Situated high on the walls of the chapel, the paintings were necessarily dramatic for the purposes of legibility from the ground. As it happened, Keating featured as Christ in the paintings, and his wife, who was not enamoured of the church, appeared as the Virgin Mary. Keating simply reused two successful poses, both of which had been photographed for the Stations, and transposed them to the painting for Albert Woods.

According to Keating’s notes, The Newly Married Man was actually painted at Killakee Reservoir in the Dublin Mountains, near to where the couple lived at the time. Albert Woods paid the artist thirty pounds for the painting in 1919. Woods then presented the painting to senior Irish civil servant, Sir Henry Augustus Robinson (1857-1927) who lived in Foxrock in County Dublin. Robinson left Ireland in 1923 and took the painting with him to Bournemouth. Robinson was a keen yachtsman, which may offer an explanation as to why Woods gifted him the painting. According to the Dictionary of Irish biography, Robinson had three sons, the youngest of who, Adrian, followed him into the civil service, eventually becoming secretary to the minister of home affairs in Northern Ireland. There is no record of public exhibition of the painting, but Keating exhibited a drawing of the same title with the Victor Waddington Gallery in Dublin in 1931.

©Dr Éimear O’Connor HRHA Author: Seán Keating: Art, Politics and Building the Irish Nation (Irish Academic Press, 2013) Director of The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig


Né à Limerick, Seán Keating épousa May Walsh en juillet 1919. Elle était originaire d'Eadestown dans le comté de Kildare, mais fut élevée en Espagne. Le couple fit connaissance lorsqu'elle revint d'Espagne en 1916. Le mariage entraîna des responsabilités, mais ce n’est que plus tard, en 1919, que Keating décrocha un emploi à temps partiel à la Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. Il avait auparavant envisagé d'émigrer mais de bons amis, le dissuadèrent d’émigrer. L'un d’eux était l'avocat Albert Woods, qui représentait Sean Moylan, autre bon ami du peintre. Woods, à la manière d'un mécène, commanda plusieurs œuvres à Keating entre 1918 et 1922, dont un portrait grandeur nature de Moylan (1921-22). Il lui commanda également The Newly Married Man en 1919. À ce moment de sa vie, Keating était connu pour ses autoportraits dans lesquels il apparaît comme un habitant des îles d'Aran, lieu qu'un autre ami, le vitrailliste Harry Clarke, lui fit découvrir en 1912.


La scène illustre une version idéalisée d'Inís Óir, l'une des trois îles d'Aran au large de la côte ouest de Galway. Keating se tient debout, dos à la plage, la main gauche tenant une rame, fièrement vêtu de tous les vêtements d'Aran, avec une ceinture tricotée appelée crios et des chaussures souples en peau de veau, appelées pampooties. Sa femme, May, portant un châle typique d'Aran, est agenouillée à côté de lui, sa main gauche sur un bouton de sa veste bainín. Deux pêcheurs sont debout, dos au couple, un petit bateau de pêche appelé currach à leurs pieds, tandis qu'au loin, un bateau appelé hooker de Galway a jeté l'ancre pour décharger de la tourbe pour les habitants. Ce spectacle n'aurait pas dépareillé à l’époque sur la scène de l'Abbey Theatre, le théâtre national irlandais à Dublin.


Il existe une explication amusante aux poses plutôt mélodramatiques du « couple nouvellement marié ». La même année, en 1919, Keating reçut une commande pour une série complète de peintures du chemin de croix pour le Clongowes Wood College, pensionnat pour garçons dans le comté de Kildare. Accrochées très haut sur les murs de la chapelle, les peintures se devaient d’être spectaculaires pour pouvoir être lues depuis le sol. Le hasard voulut que Keating incarne le Christ dans les tableaux et que sa femme, qui n’aimait pas trop l'église, apparaisse comme la Vierge Marie. Keating réutilisa simplement deux poses réussies, qui avaient toutes deux été photographiées pour les Stations, et les transposa dans le tableau destiné à Albert Woods.


Selon les notes de Keating, The Newly Married Man a en fait été peint au réservoir de Killakee dans les montagnes de Dublin, près de l'endroit où le couple vivait à l'époque. Albert Woods remit trente livres à l’artiste pour le tableau en 1919. Woods offrit ensuite le tableau à un haut fonctionnaire irlandais, Sir Henry Augustus Robinson (1857-1927), qui vivait à Foxrock dans le comté de Dublin. Robinson quitta l'Irlande en 1923 et emporta le tableau avec lui à Bournemouth. Robinson était un plaisancier passionné, ce qui pourrait expliquer pourquoi Woods lui a offert le tableau. Selon le Dictionary of Irish biography, Robinson eut trois fils, dont le plus jeune, Adrian, le suivit dans la fonction publique, devenant secrétaire du ministre de l'Intérieur en Irlande du Nord. Il n'existe aucune trace d'exposition publique du tableau, mais Keating exposa un dessin du même titre à la Victor Waddington Gallery de Dublin en 1931.

©Dr Éimear O’Connor HRHA Author: Seán Keating: Art, Politics and Building the Irish Nation (Irish Academic Press, 2013) Director of The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig