Crawford Art Gallerypermanent collection

Landscape c.1925
Irish School
oil on canvas
48.5 x 59cm


Gibson Fund Acquisition, 1926
Landscape defines succinctly the style upon which Paul Henry built his reputation. It is the landscape of the west of Ireland, reduced to key essentials of shape and colour - sky, bog turf. The small turf stacks are made to echo the great hills, and all the elements are synchronised in a manner learned from Whistler. Although for its period it is by no means an avant-garde picture, it nevertheless steers a clever path between the demands of truth to location and a modern style.

Paul Henry
Irish School

Paul Henry was born in Belfast, the son of a Baptist Minister. After attending the Belfast School of Art he went to study in Paris in 1989, where he was influenced, on one hand, by the scenes of peasant life of J F Millet, and on the other by the exquisit aesthetic refinement of Whistler, under whom he studied. Moving to London in 1900, he worked as a magazine illustrator, but turned increasingly to painting. He associated with progressive artists such as Walter Snickert, and met Hugh Lane who was to encourage him to return to Ireland. Another stimulation was the work of playwright Synge, whom he had met in Paris. Henry visited Achill Island on the Mayo coast in 1910 and was captivated by it. With his wife Grace, also a painter, he lived there for the next few years. The paintings he produced of this island and its life established the shape of the rest of his work.

He moved to Dublin in 1919 but found the art world there exceptionally narrow and reactionary after those of London and Paris. To offer an outlet to young artists' work, he founded, in 1920, the Society of Dublin Painters. This was to be, for the next twenty years, the main venue for adventurous art in Ireland. His own international standing was boosted with the purchase of his picture A West of Ireland Village, by the Musée du Luxembourg in 1922.

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