Family Group

Eugene Higgins (1874 – 1958)

  • Artist
    Eugene Higgins
  • Title
    Family Group
  • Date
    N.D.
  • Dimensions
    62 × 74.5cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented by James A Healy, 1975 (Josephine C Healy Memorial Collection
Description

The American painter and printmaker, Eugene Higgins was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Irish immigrant parents. When he was four years old his mother died and he had his father, who was a stone cutter, moved into a boarding house in St. Louis. Higgins had little formal artistic training and his earliest influences were reproductions of the work of Michelangelo, whom his father deeply admired, and illustrations of Millet’s work that he discovered in a local magazine (1). His childhood was one of relative depravation and growing up in Missouri he would have witnessed the annual floods which brought much suffering to the poorer inhabitants of the State. Many of his images reflect his experiences of human hardship and portray the poor and downtrodden with dignity, compassion and understanding.

Although Higgins eventually gained recognition as an artist, in 1914 the Irish-American patron John Quinn received a letter from a New York dealer introducing Higgins and suggesting that he was very poor and willing to sell his work for almost nothing (2).

Family Group is an image of middle-class domestic harmony that would have been particularly attractive to an artist who had grown up poor and motherless.

1. Vincenza Uccello, ‘Introduction’, Eugene Higgins, 1874-1958: Artist of Honor, exhibition catalogue Saint Joseph College Gallery, September, 1997, reprinted by The Traditional Fine Arts Organization, www.tfaoi.com.
2. Martin Birnbaum, Berlin Photographic Company, New York, to John Quinn, 3 June, 1914, John Quinn Memorial Collection, New York Public Library.

Written by Riann Coulter

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  1. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  2. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  3. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  4. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child
  5. Norah McGuinness - Les Bigoudenes
  6. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Strand Races, West Of Ireland
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Funeral of Harry Boland
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  9. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Self Portrait
  10. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  13. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  15. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  16. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  17. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  19. Patrick Scott (b. 1921) - Bog Sun (16)
  20. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  21. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Car is at the door
  22. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  23. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop