Adam's IMPORTANT IRISH ART Auction Wednesday 24th March 2021

38 27 WALTER FREDERICK OSBORNE RHA ROI (1859-1903) Landscape with Sheep, and Rising Moon (1893) (Possibly the painting entitled ‘ Peaceful Eve ’) Oil on canvas, 50 x 68cm (19¾ x 26¾’’) Signed and dated (18)’93 Provenance: Sale, these rooms 14/12/1994, lot no. 28; and 26/9/2018, lot no. 82 as Moonrise . Exhibited: Possibly Dublin Arts Club, 1894, no. 73, entitled Peaceful Eve . Literature: Possibly Jeanne Sheehy, Walter Osborne , Ballycotton, 1974, cat. No.406, p.137. A moon rises in a clear blue sky, heralding the approach of evening, clouds appear beyond the horizon, while in the foreground sheep graze peacefully in a meadow. Walter Osborne’s picture is dated 1893, and this was a busy period in his career, when he was undertaking official portrait commissions, painting informal studies of his family, genre scenes in Dublin, and making excursions to Co. Galway, yet also find- ing time to paint landscapes around Co. Dublin, such as this tranquil rural scene. (1) With its mixture of farmland and scrubby fields it may be set near Foxrock, south of Dublin, where Osborne’s fellow painter J.B.S. McIllwain lived. Like his father animal painter William Osborne RHA (1823-1901), Osborne had a strong affection for an- imals, and he depicted them with exactitude and empathy. He had earlier painted shepherds and their sheep in villages and farmland in England. In this painting he shows a flock of sheep untended, grazing peacefully, or looking out of the picture with curiosity, as if at a viewer. The rising moon, associated with fertility, the cycles of life, and the regeneration of crops and animals, had had emotional and symbol- ic importance for artists of the Romantic period, for example Turner, Caspar Friedrich, Samuel Palmer and James Arthur O’Connor; and for the French Barbizon artist Daubigny, with his atmospheric evening scenes of shepherds with their flocks and the rising moon. Osborne’s painting shows a daylight scene, but the foreground in shadow and the rising moon are sug- gestive of the approach of evening. The pastures and trees are painted freely in earthy green, dun and ochre tones. But the sky, a pale, transparent blue, and the lozenge-shaped moon, have an extraordinary brightness and clarity. The moon’s edges, slightly blurred, cast a warm glow, and the light brightens the fluffy clouds beyond the horizon. Osborne combines a careful Naturalism with a deeply lyrical feeling for nature. In many such pictures the foreground is in shadow, but sunshine lights up a distant landscape, buildings or clouds, (as for instance in ‘Loiterers’, 1888, sold in these rooms, 9th December 2020), sug- gestive of a wonderful sunny world beyond. The exact title of Osborne’s picture is not known, but it may possibly be identified as Peaceful Eve which was exhibited at the Dublin Arts Club in 1894, and which was praised by the art critic of the Irish Daily Independent: “ Peaceful Eve , a splendid conception of a peaceful country scene just as twilight shadows are darken- ing into night. The combination of deep shadows with the lighter shades where the fading sunlight still lingers on the uplands, is beautifully brought out. The artistic eye will also note ... the rising moon as it tinges with its mellow light a piled-up bank of clouds which are just beginning to show over the ridge of the eastern hills” (2) Julian Campbell, February 2021 € 40,000 - 60,000 1) eg. Landscapes such as The Thornbush, 1893 and Milking Time, c.1893 may have also been painted at Foxrock. 2) Irish Daily Independent, 18 Jan. 1894, quoted by J. Sheehy, Walter Osborne, 1974, p.137 CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AND BIDDING