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Nick Miller - John McGahern

John McGahern

Nick Miller (b.1962)

© Estate of Nick Miller. All rights reserved

  • Artist
    Nick Miller
  • Title
    John McGahern
  • Date
  • Dimensions
    86.5 × 95.5cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Purchased in 2000

Miller’s portraits of artists and writers, people with whom he has a creative affinity, are particularly powerful. This image of the author John McGahern (1934–2006), who lived near Miller, is one of the most successful literary portraits in recent Irish art.

Like Barrie Cooke, John McGahern, shared Miller’s devotion to life in the west of Ireland. While both painters are foreigners who chose to settle in rural Sligo, McGahern was born into a farming background in Leitrim and after years in Dublin and London, returned to the way of life that inspired much of his literature.

Miller recalls that, while sitting for this portrait, McGahern entertained him with stories about his years in London and the people he met there including Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Astonishingly, McGahern never looked at the portrait in progress and probably never saw the finished piece. He was happy to sit for Miller but feared that he wouldn’t know what to make of a likeness of himself.

Despite such claims, the process of sitting for Miller may have influenced McGahern’s 2002 novel That They May Face The Rising Sun, which includes an artist character who has come to live in the west.

Written by Riann Coulter

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  2. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  3. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
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  6. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  9. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  10. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  11. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  13. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  14. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  15. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  16. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  18. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  19. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  23. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  24. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower