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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

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  2. Patrick Hall - Jesus Walking on the Sea
  3. George William Russell(AE) (1867-1935) - The Sower
  4. Louis le Brocquy - The Táin - Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  6. Sean Keating (1889-1977)- Head of a Boy
  7. Constance Gore-Booth (1868 - 1927) - Untitled (Holloway Jail)
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- A Sunday Morning in Sligo
  9. Rita Duffy (b.1959) - Belfast Pieta
  10. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - William and Mary
  11. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  12. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Leaving the Far Point
  13. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Communicating with Prisoners
  14. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  15. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  16. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- An Island Funeral
  17. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) Portrait of Susan Mary (Lily) Yeats
  18. Maurice MacGonigal, PRHA (1900 - 1979)- Port Rachrainn
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- The Metal Man
  20. Constance Gore-Booth (1868-1927) - Untitled
  21. Nick Miller - John McGahern
  22. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  23. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)-A Western Town, Night
  24. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Douglas Hyde