Adam's IMPORTANT IRISH ART 8th December 2021

98 74 BASIL BLACKSHAW HRHA RUA (1932-2016) Dog Pastel and oil on paper, 51 x 69cm (20 x 27’’) Signed Provenance: Formerly in the collection of Independent News and Media (INM). Literature: Basil Blackshaw - Painter, Brian Ferran, plate 29, page 101 € 20,000 - 30,000 Animals – particularly horses and dogs – were central to Basil Blackshaw’s life and work. A life- long country dweller who never really took to the city, he was the youngest of seven siblings. His father was a horse trainer, and the household was steeped in equestrian culture, with horse people and dog breeders constantly passing through, and the animals themselves ever-present. Blackshaw’s art is always specific: places, people and animals are never just generic presences. In the 1970s he made paintings based on the connections between human and animal, often concentrating on the intense rapport they can develop. By the end of the decade, he had begun, like Stubbs, to consider the animals as solo portrait subjects in their own right, usually depicted in the open air, without additional, distracting detail, and giving them – horses, dogs and cock- erels bred for illegal fights - the kind of attentive consideration normally devoted to humans. He made a series of paintings of lurchers and of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, sturdy, stocky, mus- cular dogs of strong character, thought to have been bred as fighting dogs (long outlawed) but always valued as pets. Blackshaw’s vivid, precise accounts of the animals, as here, are clearly based on long familiarity with and regard for the breed. His closely related painting, Pair of Stafford Terriers , featured in the international touring exhibition, Six Artists from Ireland , in 1983. Generally regarded as one of the finest Irish artists of the 20th century, Blackshaw was born in Co Antrim (the family soon moved to Co Down). Precociously gifted, he was accepted at art college aged just 16 and went on to achieve great critical and public acclaim. His painting is unfailingly honest, direct and unaffected. It remained rooted in his immediate, rural life and surroundings: landscape, animals, the human figure and portraits were his subjects. His work is included in numerous public and private collections. Aidan Dunne, October 2021