24 15 PAUL HENRY RHA (1877-1958) Cottages and Turfstacks in the West of Ireland, (1924-6) Oil on canvas, 35.5 x 40.5cm (14 x 16’’) Signed Provenance: Sale, these rooms, 14/12/1989, lot 21; sale de Vere’s, Dublin 29/5/1990, lot 22; with the Oriel Gallery 1990; Eakin Gallery, Belfast; Private Collection. Exhibited: Dublin, Oriel Gallery, 1990, No.37; Dublin, The Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, 1991, no.55 as ‘Connemara Cottages’, illustrated in colour, page 38. Literature: S.B. Kennedy, ‘Paul Henry, Painting, Drawings, Illustrations’, Yale 2007, Catalogue no.620. € 140,000 - 180,000 Dated to the mid 1920s by Dr. S.B. Kennedy, Cottages and Turf Stacks in the West of Ireland was painted after the artist’s prolonged sojourn in Achill had come to an end and at a time when he was reaching his full maturity as a painter. Born in Belfast in 1876 Henry studied at the Belfast Government School of Art before going to Paris where he enrolled as a student at the Académie Julian and later at the Académie Carmen which was run by the American painter James MacNeill Whistler. It was in Paris that Henry developed a deep admiration for the work of the Barbizon painters, and in par- ticular that of J.F. Millet, whose representations of simple peasant life were to have a lasting impact on the Irishman’s work. Encouraged by friends to visit the remote Achill Island in the west of Ireland, he and Grace set off late in 1910. Redolent of Millet’s work, people feature prominently in Henry’s Achill period paintings and by and large disappear from his work after his return to Dublin nine or so years later. His work over the next three decades almost invariably represented the West of Ireland, and while his pictures lack actual human representation they are not devoid of their presence. The turf stack and small habitation of four cottages suggest a living community but one which is largely isolated and one that lives in the shadow of an imposing mountain range. This long-past way of living and Henry’s honest and beautiful representation of such simplicity is why such classic works continue to be sought after by collectors.