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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

Browse the Collection

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  1. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  4. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935)- Landscape with Picnic Scene
  5. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  7. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  9. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  10. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  11. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  12. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  13. Norah McGuinness - Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  15. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  16. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  17. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  18. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  20. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Jennie Mitchell
  21. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  22. Jack B. Yeats - White Shower
  23. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Singing “The beautiful Picture“