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愛爾蘭藝術

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Lilian Davidson, A.R.H.A.
1893-1954
GATHERING KELP
signed with monogram l.l.
oil on canvas
63.5 by 73.5cm., 25 by 29in.
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來源

Sotheby's, London, 21 May 1998, lot 358, where purchased by the present owners

展覽

Possibly Dublin, Royal Hibernian Academy, 1928, no.187 (as Kelp Gatherers)

相關資料

The gathering of kelp was a longstanding traditional industry that flourished round the coasts of Ireland, used for its antiseptic properties and the ability to extract iodine from it. It was a seasonal activity that usually began in May in finer weather and would often involve women and children working alongside men. The kelp would be cut from rocks or raked from the surf with kelp hooks or ‘drags’.

It would have been a sight familiar to Davidson and in the present painting she depicts three men with a horse and cart going about their work. Heavily influenced by the various styles found in Paris and across the continent during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Lilian Davidson regularly depicted scenes of native traditions found across Ireland, often including the varied landscapes of her country. During the eighteenth century in Ireland, any form of landscape painting tended to be an extension of portrait painting; depicting wealthy landowners exhibiting their property and land. However, by the following century landscape painting had become a genre in its own right due to the increasing interest in the idea of the picturesque, and by the time Davidson was working, a much more naturalistic approach was taken and precedence given to the rural people working the land. In France, paintings such as Jean-Francois Millet's The Gleaners (1857, Musée d'Orsay) and Jules-Bastien Lepage's Haymaking (1877, Musée d'Orsay) were critical in influencing this new direction at the close of the 19th century.

Born in 1879 in County Wicklow, Davidson first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1914 and for the next 40 years exhibited 135 works, proving to be one of the most influential female Irish artists of her period. She was influenced by the early painting career of Jack B. Yeats and this is evident here in the delineated approach to the figures. Situating the three figures and horse and cart against the pale sky highlights their forms and strengthens their presence. In tonality, it also recalls the work of Nathaniel Hone and Paul Henry. Using soft, harmonious colours, punctuated with the orange-browns of the kelp and the blue of the cart, it creates a highly atmospheric work which stands as a striking visual record of a tradition now passed. 

愛爾蘭藝術

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倫敦