Auction Preview: Gorry Gallery

Auction Preview: Gorry Gallery
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Robert O’Byrne discusses the rediscovery of an important Irish painting by Henry Jones Thaddeus

HENRY JONES THADDEUS (1860-1929) LES AMIS DU MODÈLE oil on canvas 116x98cm signed and dated 1881

oil on canvas 116x98cm signed and dated 1881

A 19th-century picture hitherto believed lost is to be included in an exhibition opening at the end of March at Dublin’s Gorry Gallery. Cork-born Henry Jones Thaddeus painted Les Amis du Mod√®le during the winter of 1881, around the same time he was finishing a work now in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland, Jour de marché, Finist√®re (1882). Both pictures were produced while he was living in Concarneau, Brittany and were subsequently accepted for exhibition at the Paris Salon of 1882; he had enjoyed success at the same venue the previous year with The Wounded Poacher (also now in the NGI collection) but never showed there again. Les Amis subsequently hung at the Cork Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition, and the Royal Scottish Academy, both in 1883. ‚Ä®The painting appears to feature the same model as Jour de marché; certainly she is dressed in identical traditional costume of the region, not least an elaborate headdress. The picture shows her to the foreground standing with her back to the viewer inside what was then Thaddeus‚’ studio, the medieval former Chapelle de la Trinité in Concarneau. The moustachioed artist can be seen behind her holding up a canvas for the inspection of friends. An easel, palette and other items used for his painting litter the space, giving us an excellent idea of Thaddeus‚’ working conditions. ‚Ä®As already mentioned, Les Amis du Mod√®le was believed lost, it’s whereabouts listed as unknown in Brendan Rooney’s 2003 monograph on the artist, and no recorded image of it in existence. However, it was recently discovered in a private collection in Scandinavia and has now been brought to Ireland and undergone restoration before inclusion in the Gorry Gallery exhibition. It will be offered for sale, and there must be some hope even in these straitened times for our institutions that the funds could be found to allow it join Jour de marché, Finist√®re in the NGI.
Auction: Gorry Gallery, Dublin, 30 March

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