This image is subject to copyright and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without written permission.
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

Browse by: Image / List

  1. Estella Solomons - Portrait of Jack B. Yeats
  2. Sir William Orpen RHA, RA AWS (1878-1931) - Portrait of Michael Davitt
  3. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  4. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Johnny Paterson singing ’Bridget Donoghue’
  5. atrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  6. Norah McGuinness (1903 - 1980) - Hanrahan’s Vision (Illustrations for The Stories of Red Hanrahan)
  7. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Sea and the Lighthouse
  9. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of John O’Leary
  10. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Shining Shallows
  11. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  12. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  13. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  14. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Old Kitty
  15. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  16. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Lion
  17. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) - An Island Man
  18. Patrick Hall - Angels Ascending and Descending with Heavenly Spectators
  19. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - The Great Breath
  20. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979) - Country Scene
  21. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  22. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  23. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  24. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats as a child