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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 (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  2. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  3. Jack B. Yeats - Crest of the Hill
  4. Sean McSweeney - The Road
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  6. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  7. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Sean Milroy
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  9. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  10. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Simon the Cyrenian
  12. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Stargazer
  15. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Shruna Meala, Rosses Point
  18. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  19. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  20. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  21. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  22. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Market Day
  24. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Portrait Figure of an Irish Gentleman