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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  4. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  6. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  9. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  10. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Bay Pilot, The River Pilot, The Stevedore, The Ganger and the Gang
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  13. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Jennie Mitchell
  14. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  15. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde
  16. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-Red Hanrahan’s Vision
  18. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  19. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - The Gathering
  20. Estella Solomons - Woman in Riding Habit
  21. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  23. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window