This image is subject to copyright and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without written permission.
Nick Miller - John McGahern

John McGahern

Nick Miller (b.1962)

© Estate of Nick Miller. All rights reserved

  • Artist
    Nick Miller
  • Title
    John McGahern
  • Date
    1998
  • Dimensions
    86.5 × 95.5cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Purchased in 2000
Description

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

Browse the Collection

Browse by: Image / List

  1. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  3. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  4. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  5. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935)- Landscape with Picnic Scene
  6. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  7. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  9. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  10. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
  11. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  13. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - Portrait
  14. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  15. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Jennie Mitchell
  16. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  19. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  20. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  22. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners