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

86 73 FREDERICK E. MCWILLIAM HRUA RA (1909-1992) Undercover Girl (1978) Bronze, 17.5 x 25 x 19cm (6¾ x 9¾ x 7½’’) Signed with initials Edition 1/5 Provenance: Ashford Hall, Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire; Waddington Galleries, London, McWilliam’s exhibition 1979; Sworders, Stanstead Mountfitchet, ‘The Country House Sale’, September 2009, where pur- chased by the current owner. Literature: McWilliam’s notebook, work is numbered 78.07, ie the 7th work of 1978. ‘When he embarked on his series of Legs 1977 - 1981, ‘he began the practice of making small accurate sketches of each work beside his notebook entry, which was not only for his own identification, but for the foundries, in this case the Galizia Foundry.’ The Sculpture of F.E.McWilliam , Ferran & Holman, Lund Hum- phries, 2012, p. 85. Exhibited: Taylor 1979; the Arts Councils of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of the Republic of Ireland, 1981, cat. no. 151; exhibition tour, Ulster Museum, Belfast, April - May; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, May - June; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork, July - August. Tate Gallery, 1989, cat. no. 66, illus. p. 64. Women of Belfast and Woman in a Bomb Blast were a highly charged response by McWilliam to the devas- tating bombs in Belfast and in particular the bombing of the Abercorn restaurant in 1971. This series was followed by the Banners which again focused on the Northern Ireland problems, a series instigated by the Peace People, mainly women, including his long time friend Sheelagh Flanagan, myself and many others, who marched for peace. After five years of producing work, which were McWilliam’s reaction to the ‘troubles’ in his country of birth, McWilliam, turned, for respite, to the subject matter he loved most, the beauty and form of female legs. The walls of his studio in Holland Park had many photographs of female forms, especially legs, some from Sel- fridges’ advertisements for ladies’ tights. The capriciousness of McWilliam’s imagination combined with his modeling skill, were used in his series of Legs from 1978 until 1981, ending with Ms Orissa . The subject of women’s legs as a means to create movement, beauty and intrigue, heightened by his observation of Indian carvings, especially in the temples of Orissa, which he studied first hand, informed him that the entire human form did not need to be present to give meaning to the subject. His return to the Surrealist idea of incomplete fragments and his use of legs, to convey this, as in Undercover Girl provides femininity and sensuality but with an underlying strength and stoicism. The top of Undercover Girl is hidden under a partially opened umbrella shape or a form developed from his Banner series, 1975/76, thereby conveying the intrigue and secrecy of undercover agents. His ability to convey this, in every foot movement and toe position, portrays his admiration for the female form. His friendship with the Dublin born ballerina, Ninette de Valois (1898 - 2001) founder of the Royal Ballet, whose portrait he carved in 1963, influenced him greatly, leading to his love of ballet and an appreciation of such an exacting art form in which arm and leg movement were paramount. Feet were important to McWil- liam as a means to express emotions whether terror in Women of Belfast which to him were - ‘the women as victims of man’s stupidity’ or the mystery, strength and fortitude imbued in Undercover Girl . Denise Ferran, February 2021 € 12,000 - 16,000 CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AND BIDDING