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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
    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

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  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  4. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  5. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  6. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  7. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  9. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Jennie Mitchell
  10. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - Landscape with Woman and Children
  11. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  13. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  14. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  16. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  17. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Mare and Foals
  18. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  20. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  23. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man