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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. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ
  3. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  4. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  5. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  6. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Fortune and her wheel
  9. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  10. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  11. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  12. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  15. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Self Portrait
  16. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  17. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  18. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  19. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  20. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  21. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- An Island Funeral
  23. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  24. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - Landscape with Woman and Children