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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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  1. Louis le Brocquy - Hell Fire Club from Tibradden
  2. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - The Toy Theatre
  3. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Mary Colum
  4. George William Russell (AE) (1867-1935) - Portrait of Kitsy Franklin
  5. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Untitled, the interior of a shop
  6. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Susan Mitchell
  7. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Mountain window
  8. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Sailor home from the sea
  9. Artist Unknown - Portrait of a Girl
  10. Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) - Wood Nymph
  11. Estella Solomons - Portrait of a Woman
  12. Percy French (1854 - 1920) - A view of Sligo Quay
  13. John B. Yeats (1839-1922) - Portrait of Augusta Gregory
  14. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- He wins
  15. Nick Miller - Portrait of Barrie Cooke
  16. Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) - Untitled
  17. Rita Duffy (b.1959) -Seige ||
  18. Jack B. Yeats (1871 - 1957) - Singing The Minstrel Boy
  19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)- Cartoon for Figure of Christ
  20. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - The Great Breath
  21. James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) - Maunder’s Fishshop, Chelsea
  22. Sean Keating PRHA (1889 - 1979) - Turf-Gatherer
  23. Marie Foley (b. 1959) - To Measure the Immeasurable
  24. Nick Miller - John McGahern