We have an exceptional painting by Roderic O'Conor for sale.

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  Roderic O'Conor:
      O'Conor: Biography
      O'Conor: Brittany

      O'Conor: Paris Interiors
      O'Conor: Still Life
   Forgery: European
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© Milmo-Penny Fine Art Ltd.


Roderic O'Conor 1860-1940
An Early Expressionist in Brittany

Houses at Lezaven

Oil on canvas, 36¼ x 28¾ inches. Atelier stamp verso of canvas
Inscribed on original stretcher: Roderic O’Conor 1898, Pont-Aven a Lezaven 1898

Provenance: Studio Sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris 1956;
Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London;
Schoneman Galleries, New York, 1960;
Bruce Vardon, New Jersey, USA;
Private collection, N.Ireland
Sotheby’s, London, 18 May 2001;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Ireland;
Exhibited: French Pictures of the 19th & 20th Century, Roland Browse & Delbanco, London, 1958, Number 17, as Red Road at Pont-Aven;
'Roderic O'Conor', Barbican, London; Ulster Museum;
National Gallery of Ireland; Whitworth Art Gallery,
Manchester, 1985/86, number 21;
Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, 1995 - 2000;
'Vision and Expression', Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, 1996 as Landscape
Literature: Denys Sutton, Studio, November 1960, pp.168 and 174, illus;
J. O’Brian, Revue de l’Universite de Moncton, vol 15, 1982, pp.15 & 16;
The Irish Impressionists, Dr. J. Campbell, Dublin, 1984, p.99;J. Bennington, Apollo, April 1985, pp.257 & 260, illus;
J. Bennington, Roderic O’Conor, Dublin, 1992, pp.81 & 196, illus;
Dr. Roy Johnston, Vision and Expression, Dublin 1996, pp. 34 & 35, illus;
Vincent de Vean, Cara, September 1996, p.12, illus;
Milmo-Penny & Fennelly, Roderic O’Conor, Private View, Dublin 2001.
Documentary: 'Le Voyage', 1993, narrated by Andrew Sachs

Painted in 1898, this work is ranked amongst the most important Irish paintings of the Modern School. The surreal colouring of the pink, red and orange buildings, set in front of a green sky, creates an extraordinary painting, which pre-dates the Expressionists and the Fauves by a decade. In the survey of O’Conor’s career in Brittany, we have shown the influences which led to this painting, the core of which was the extent to which Gauguin and Bernard were influenced by primitive art; and a desire to establish a symbolic visual language in order to express and communicate ideas and emotions to others. It is no coincidence to discover that these are the two main underlying theories of mainstream German Expressionist painting, an interpretation of which is given by Peter and Linda Murray in their Dictionary of Art as: “The search for expressiveness of style by means of exaggerations and distortions of line and colour; a deliberate abandon of the naturalism implicit in Impressionism in favour of a simplified style which should carry far greater emotional impact.” They also point out that modern Expressionism has, at its roots: “Van Gogh’s use of drastically simplified outline and very strong colour.” We can see from this that O’Conor’s emergence amongst the pre-expressionists was through a common influence, the end result of which is evident in the paintings shown here. There is no coincidence in discovering that many other elements of mainstream Expressionism are found in these paintings: an emotive, soul-searching response; a suggestive distortion of the elements and an over-riding of reality expressed in colour.

Photograph of a painting by theIrish artist, Roderic O'Conor.

Paysanne Bretonne

Oil on canvas, 25 x 21 inches. Circa 1897. Private Collection

The argument for O'Conor's dominant position amongst the pre-expressionists is strengthened by the fact that the Lezaven painting is not an isolated work. The series of seascapes painted in Brittany in the late 1890s leaves us in no doubt that the style he developed evolved from his ability to recognise and absorb the extraordinary developments, which were happening around him. His revolutionary work was not confined to to landscapes and seascapes. With equal force, his expressiveness comes to the fore in figure paintings such as Paysanne Bretonne, a seminal work in which O'Conor takes the doctrine of simplicity to an extreme. The main body of the painting is constructed in a fashion similar to the Lezaven work whereby an amalgamation of heavy stripes are laid over a stained canvas. The background is represented by long, bold, isolated stripes applied over a stain, which graduates from light to dark pink. The darker tones of the background are mirrored in the face and neck, which are left devoid of detail. The hands, painted in a strong orange colour, are handled in a similar manner. This minimalist technique produces an energy seldom found in formal realist paintings.

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

Seascape with Pink Foam

Oil on panel 9 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches
Inscribed O'Conor 92
Provenance: Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London, purchased in Nantes, France, 1962;

Browse & Darby, London, 1981;
Grant Fine Art, Newcastle, Co. Down;
Pyms Gallery, London 1985;
Lord Gormanston;
Private collection, Dublin;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dublin, 1996;
Private collection, Dublin
Exhibited: 'Roderic O'Conor, Norman Adams', Roland, Browse & Delbanco,  London, 1964, no. 13;
'Christmas Presents', Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London, 1964, number 64;
'British and French Paintings', Browse & Darby, London, 1981, number 16;
'O'Conor', Musée de Pont Aven, France, September 1984, number 9, illustrated;
'Celtic Splendour', Pyms Gallery, London, 1985, number 12, illustrated;
'Roderic O'Conor', Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1985, number 21, illustrated;
Ulster Museum, 1986, number 21, illustrated;
National Gallery of Ireland, 1985, number 21, illustrated;
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1986, number 21, illustrated;
Exhibition of Irish Paintings',
1860-1960, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1990;
'Private View', Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dublin, May 2001
Literature: Dr. Roy Johnston, 'O'Conor', Pont-Aven, 1984;
Dr. Roy Johnston, 'Roderic O'Conor', National Gallery of Ireland, 1985
McKonkey, A Free Spirit, 1990;
Benington, 'Roderic O'Conor', 1992, page 191;
Milmo-Penny and Fennelly, Private View, 2001

Seascape with Pink Foam
is an exuberant example of O'Conor’s expressionist work. It demonstrates the spontaneous individuality of his creative talent; his immediate interpretation of the foaming sea, passionately expressed in daring colour, with little regard to reality. The application of paint is unhesitating and without correction. The painting is closely related to two similar works of almost identical dimensions; Seascape, Yellow Sky and The Foaming Sea. All three paintings were bought in Nantes in 1962 by the London firm of Roland, Browse and Delbanco. Since 1956, this firm has organised a number of important exhibitions of O’Conor’s work. Another painting closely related in style and subject matter to this group is a slightly larger version of Seascape, Yellow Sky.

There are four pinholes in this panel, one in each corner, which indicates that O’Conor used a pouncing technique to
transfer a drawing from paper to the canvas. In this traditional method, the original drawing is perforated along the outlines of the composition before it is pinned to the support. The perforated drawing is then pounded with a pouch containing black powder, which finds its way through the perforations.

In his 1985 catalogue, Dr. Roy Johnston has expressed reservations about the inscribed date of 1892. He suggests that, in common with a number of other works, these dates were inscribed at a later date and therefore cannot be relied upon. Our microscopic examination of this inscription confirms this. We can show that the signature and date are applied over an aged layer of grime and varnish. Furthermore, the paint used for the inscription is 20th century and alien to the remainder of the composition. It appears that this inscription was applied in the 1950s.

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

Les Récif

Oil on canvas, 28¾ x 36¼ inches. Stamped verso atelier O’Conor
Inscribed verso on stretcher: “Les Récif ” 1894;
6-7 Fevrier 1956 vente O’Conor
Provenance: Studio Sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, 1956;
Private collection, France;
By descent, 1970;
Serge Tesson, Commissaire Priseur, Partheney, France;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Ireland

Exhibited: Private View,
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, May 2001

Although dated 1894 on the stretcher, this date cannot be relied upon as it was inscribed after the 1956 sale. On stylistic grounds, the painting fits more closely with 1898.
Les Récif is the title give to this painting by Roderic O'Conor and all later titles given to it by various authors should be ignored.

The exuberance of this seascape suggests a vitality born out of O’Conor’s self-imposed exile in the inland village of Rochefort-en-Terre between December 1895 and January 1899. The vitality of the painting suggests the artist's in returning to the coast. The technique and handling is very similar to that employed in Houses at Lezaven, a painting which forms an important link between O'Conor's striped landscapes and his seascapes with yellow skies, pink foam and red rocks. By this time, his rough  zebriste technique had evolved into a refined style, which was unmistakably his own; and his rich palette had become just as distinctive.

O'Conor's expressionist tendencies are also evident here. Les Récif is built up using an application of long flowing bands of colour applied with a heavily laden brush over a turpentine wash. The foreground is sparsely painted; bare priming depicts the lighter passages. The colours are daring, simple and sumptuous. Bright chunks of white pigment depict foaming, crashing waves, heightened by the power of undiluted ultramarine and cobalt green. Massive rocks are represented in rich bayeux violets and crimson lakes brilliantly set off by a wide expanse of chrome orange and streaks of lemon yellow. In a number of passages, the impasto takes on a sculptural form.

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

Seascape, Brittany

Oil on paper laid on board, 17¾ x 24 inches
Provenance: Crane Kalman Gallery, London, Nov. 1972;
Dr. O'Driscoll;
Christies, London, June 1986, lot 390a;
Browse and Darby, London;
D. Clarke Esq.;
Rory James Clarke;
James Adam, Dublin, May 1997, lot 59
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Ireland

Exhibited: Private View,
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, May 2001

The success of these paintings lie in their sheer simplicity and the intoxicating contrasts of luscious reds bathed in the cool whites and creams of the foaming sea. However, for all their simplicity, there is a high degree of finish, which is achieved without loss of the wonderful spontaneity conveyed by O'Conor's alla prima technique. The application of paint is fluid and free flowing. The composition is built up by a simple combination of long stripes, which are particularly evident in the foreground.

Photograph of a painting by Roderic O'Conor.

Red Rocks near Pont-Aven

Oil on paper laid on board, 10¼ x
14¼ inches
Signed by the artist and dated 1898

Provenance: James Adam, Dublin;

Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Collection of Allied Irish Banks plc, Dublin

Milmo-Penny Fine Art, May 1992

In our 1992 catalogue, Dr. Roy Johnston made the following notes on Red Rocks near Pont-Aven: "
This seascape is typical of many which Roderic O'Conor painted off the Brittany coastline near Pont-Aven between 1897 and 1898. These pictures are characterised by the use of a well defined horizon line and a view of the sea over a vigorously painted rocky foreshore, as is the case in this particular work.  

O'Conor's seascapes often depict a turbulent sea in which there is a pronounced visual and expressive link between the rhythms of crashing and foaming waves and foreground rocks. This particular painting presents a more naturalistic interpretation as a gently swelling tide breaks and foams against partially submerged rocks in contrast with a rugged coastline. The foreground rocks are painted with O'Conor's usual sense of directness and vigour with drawing and painting integrated in the one activity and the horizontal brush strokes of the sea and those which describe the sky are subtle reminders of an earlier style associated with his heavily striped landscapes painted at Pont-Aven in 1892 and '93.

If the painting style is typical of O'Conor at this period in his career so too is his colour range in this particular painting with the most distinctive feature being his use of alizarin crimson and yellow ochre in the foreground rocks.  Almost all of his seascapes use these colours in combination and almost all of them use the paint generously with evidence of blending and mixing on the canvas through brush strokes and jabbing marks worked into the wet oil paint. 

The fresh and spontaneous painting throughout this picture, allied to his choice of paper as a support, strongly suggests that this work was one of a number which he painted 'sur le motif' while on a visit to the Brittany coastline from his base at Rochefort-en-Terre, Morbihan, where he was known to be living at that time.

Red Rocks and Foam

Courtesy of McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Ontario

Oil on canvas, 19¼ x 24 inches.
Signed by the artist, monogram ROC, bottom right

Provenance: Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London, 1964;
Dr. Herman Herzog Lévy, O.B.E., Estate;
Gift to McMaster Museum of Art,
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 1990
Exhibited: ‘Roderic O’Conor, Norman Adams’,
Roland Browse & Delbanco, London, 1964, number 21
as ‘Red Rocks and Foam, Brittany, No. 2’
Literature: ‘Gauguin and the Pont-Aven School’, Wladyslawa Jaworska: Thames and Hudson, 1972, illustrated p.223 as ‘Surf and Red Rocks’;
J. Bennington, Roderic O’Conor, Dublin, 1992, no.69, p.198;

In parallel with the 1898 series of paintings featuring red rocks, O’Conor produced a number of other seascapes, which were distinctively blue in overall tone. La Vague, York City Art Gallery (Johnston cat.32), is a good example and one of the best known of his Breton works. Reminiscent of Courbet’s wave paintings, it raised favourable comment with the critics when it was shown at the Paris Salon in 1905. Red Rocks and Foam is a painting which stands out from all of these as it combines the vibrancy of the red rocks series with the more naturalistic colouring of the blue seascapes. In this context, it must be regarded as one of the most successful of O’Conor’s paintings from this period. The creamy lusciousness of the churning foam is instantly appealing. The blues and reds are set off by touches of green laid on in bold stripes. Daring as this approach is, the painting reveals an artist at the height of his powers and in full control of his palette.

Although the purchase by Dr. Lévy is recorded, the location of the painting was unknown until a chance conversation with Dr. Ihor Holubizky resolved the mystery. We are delighted to reintroduce this fine example of O’Conor’s work and we are indebted to the McMaster Museum for permission to reproduce it.

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

A Breton Interior

Oil on board, 20¼ x 30 inches
Provenance: Crane Kalman Gallery, London;
Private collection, London;
Christie’s, London, May 96, lot 9;
DeVeres, Dublin, Nov 98, lot 25;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Ireland

Exhibited: Private View,
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, May 2001

One of O’Conor’s last works from Brittany, the combination of figure study and still life in this interior makes this painting unique. Although there are many studies that include still life objects, it is the formal still life arrangement that sets this particular work apart. This aspect demonstrates another facet of O’Conor’s pioneering approach to painting. The still life is the subject of another work, painted circa 1904, with variations such as the inclusion of a second wine bottle. The painting establishes an important link between his Breton paintings and his later work from the Paris studio.

Dr. Roy Johnston makes the following observation: “O’Conor has posed his model in a sparsely furnished studio, in which the sloping roof and the dormer window which admits the light are consistent with the architectural details of the old Hotel des Voyageurs in Pont-Aven. As O’Conor is known to have stayed there in the company of other artists, it is likely that this is the location of this particular interior.”

Photograph of a Breton painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor.

Jeune Bretonne

Oil on canvas, 21½ by 18 inches. Signed by the artist with initials RO'C, '96. Stamped verso atelier O'Conor.
Provenance: Studio Sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, 1956;

Felix Wolmark, Paris;
Sotheby’s, London, 2nd July 1969, lot 121 (as Portrait de Bretonne);
Private collection, N.Ireland;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Ireland

Exhibited: Paris, Grand Palais, De Pont-Aven aux Nabis, Retrospective 1888-1903 (Société des Artistes Indépendants, 82e Exposition Annuelle), 1971, no.67;
Pont-Aven, Musée de Pont-Aven, 'Roderic O’Conor', 1860-1940, 1984, p.164, no.17, illustrated in the exhibition catalogue.
Richard Shone, 'The Post-Impressionists', Octopus Books, 1979, p.164, illustrated;
Benington, Dublin, 1992, p.195, no.46.

This sensitive portrait of a young Breton girl was publicly exhibited for the first time in Paris in 1971 at the Grand Palais in the important survey exhibition, Retrospective de Pont-Aven aux Nabis, 1888-1903, when it was shown under the title Jeune Bretonne. The exhibition included paintings by Gauguin, Bernard, Serusier, Filiger, Seguin, Slewinski, Denis, Ranson and others.

Dr. Roy Johnston observes that: "The girl is wearing an embroidered coiffe which sits close to the crown of her head and is covered by a light cotton or muslin bonnet.  The style of this coiffe identifies her as a resident of Rochefort-en-Terre in Morbihan in western France.   Rochefort was then, and still is today, a quaint and picturesque village with numerous stone houses somewhat off the beaten track, about 110 kilometers to the southeast of Pont-Aven and approximately  30 kilometers from the coast at Vannes.  O'Conor moved from Pont-Aven, where he had been based since 1891, to Rochefort in the spring or early in the summer of 1895.  By July of that year he was in residence in the village at the Hotel Lecadre.  The hotel’s owner, Francois Lecadre,  was sympathetic to the needs of artists, and the charges he made for board and lodging were modest and affordable.  O'Conor's room in the hotel probably also served as his studio and this is the most likely site for this portrait.

O’Conor probably chose to make the move to Rochefort from Pont-Aven in pursuit of greater privacy in a quieter location. The environment there attracted fewer artists and was quite different from Pont-Aven, where the colony was excessively crowded.  This was especially true during the summer months when artists of all types travelled down from Paris to take advantage of cheap accommodation and easy access to landscape and seascape motifs. Between May and November of 1894 O’Conor had worked alongside Gauguin in Pont-Aven and had developed a close friendship with him and the members of his artistic circle.  Gauguin's departure from Brittany in November of 1894 precipitated the dissolution of his group as each one of them moved to different locations.  From what we know of O'Conor's personality he would not have welcomed a role in Pont-Aven which would have attracted the attention of other artists, especially those for whom he had little respect, simply on the basis of his close friendship with Gauguin.  After O'Conor attended Gauguin's sale in Paris in February of 1895, Rochefort must have seemed the better choice for him, and the evidence from the paintings which he made there would indicate that this also  became a period of reassessment for him.  In the comparative isolation of Rochefort-en-Terre, his work returned to more academic values such as those represented in this painting.

Jeune Bretonne
is  a very good example of those changes in O'Conor's painting style which are in contrast with his rather more expressive landscapes and portraits of a year or two earlier.  The assured drawing of the figure and the head confirms his skill as a draughtsman, and the portrait also shows his maturity and control in handling paint and in drawing directly with the brush to establish form.  In painting the girl's head he has used left to right brush strokes and simplified the planar structures of her face, acknowledging an obvious debt to Cezanne's way of painting.  His overpainting with brush lines and bold marks in the wide bouffant sleeves of the girl's dress makes a positive reference to his striping technique of a few years earlier. The same girl may have sat for him on other occasions as both the traditional dress and coiffe which she is wearing are very similar to those in his painting La Jeune Bretonne (Coll. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin)"

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

Portrait de Bretonne

Oil on canvas, 55 x 46cm. Atelier O’Conor stamp verso.
Provenance: Studio Sale, Paris, 1956;
Thierry Martin Lannon, Brest, May 1987, lot 175;
Private Collection, Ireland;
DeVeres Art Auctions, June 2007

O’Conor was particularly fond of a head and shoulders format when portraying his Breton models, both male and female. The pose employed in the present work is very similar to that of another painting of the same title (Johnston, Pont-Aven, 1984, no.1), one of his first Breton studies, in which the angle of the girl’s head and the downward glance is also identical. The uncovered head of the girl is very unusual amongst the Bretons, although there is at least one other example by O’Conor, an informal full length sketch of a seated girl with red hair (Christies, Belfast, May 1990, lot 489).

The striped brushwork of the face, the turpentine wash of the body and the burnt sienna background are very close in technique to O’Conor’s self portrait (National Gallery of Ireland), which has been dated by Johnston to 1898. This may suggest that the present work was painted towards the end of his three year sojourn in Rochefort-en-Terre, perhaps the least documented period of O’Conor’s career. The sensitivity with which the work is painted and the lack of headdress might suggest that O’Conor had a special relationship with this girl. This may be a far-fetched theory, but there is no comparable work from his seventeen year period in Brittany.

Photograph of a Breton painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor.

A Breton Fisherman

Oil on canvas, 32 x 23½ inches. Stamped verso atelier O’Conor
Provenance: Studio Sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, 1956;
Gerolano Moghini, Lugano, Switzerland;
Sotheby’s, London, November 1982;
James Adam Salerooms, Dublin, March 1990
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Dublin
Exhibited: Private View,
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, May 2001

Painted circa 1891, this strong and powerful work is one of O’Conor’s earliest studies of the Breton people. With the benefit of a fine academic training behind him,  O’Conor was intimately familiar with the traditional techniques and working methods of the great masters. His knowledge and understanding of the craft of painting is demonstrated here in the skilful modelling and fine gradation of tone from shadow to highlight. He uses a very limited palette of light red, green and yellow ochre. This uncomplicated approach does not detract from the basic vigour of the portrait.
It is one of six studies of the fisherman, one of which adorned the walls of the Hotel Julia in Pont -Aven where another version remains to this day in the Museum. In Brisbane, the Queensland Art Gallery have another fine  example of the fisherman.

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

Jeune Bretonne en Coiffe de Pont-Aven

Oil on canvas laid on board, 24 x 19¾ inches.

Provenance: Private collection, USA;
Martin, Chausselat, CPA, Versailles, June 99;
Serge Tesson, Parthenay, France;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Dublin
Exhibited: 'Private View',
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, May 2001

This study of a young girl shows O'Conor's ability to portray his subjects with a remarkable degree of sensitivity. It continues his study of the people he lived amongst for a thirteen year period and is one of a series of Breton girls in traditional costume. The style and detail of the costume, which varies from village to village, denotes marital and social status. In these days, any girl dressing above her station left herself open to ridicule from her community. This young girl's rather plain costume is similar to that worn by the model in Bretonne, (Johnston, cat.42) painted circa 1903. Another interesting comparison from the same year is Une Jeune Bretonne, (Johnston, cat.43) in which the pose and expression is comparable. The dark tonality and lack of hot colour is reminiscent of O'Conor's early Breton work. However, when we consider how close this painting is to those that were to follow in Paris, it is more realistic to suggest a date between 1902 and 1903, just before his departure from Brittany.

The schematic similarities between this work and so many of his later portraits are remarkable. Lit from one side, the girl is painted from just above the knees, her
hands are clasped beside an open book that rests on her lap. This is a pose which O'Conor incorporated in many of the studio studies which he did in Paris over the following decades. Another common feature is the manner in which the model gazes into the distance, detached from the artist, perhaps absorbing what she has read in her book. The chair on which she is seated is placed in front of an open doorway with two vertical bands of colour to the left, one formed by the plain architrave of the door frame. The geometric shape formed by this type of backdrop also became a feature of many of the works that followed.

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

Young Girl in Pont-Aven Headdress

Oil on canvas laid on board, 15¼ x 11¾ inches
Provenance: Private collection, Brittany;
Thierry Martin, Brest;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Dublin
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, June 1990

The young girl portrayed here is probably about eight or nine and a few years younger than the girl in the previous study. There is a very slight resemblance between the two girls, not so much in the facial features but in their disposition and in the way their straw-coloured hair is pulled back under the headdress.
There are further similarities, especially in the side lighting and the familiar vacant gaze. The colouring is similarly low key but heightened by the green dappled background which graduates from light to dark as we move across the canvas. This type of gradation is taken to the extreme in works such as La Jeune Breton (Johnston cat.18), 1895, and is also found in his later paintings, for example, Jeune Fille au Bouquet de Violettes, shown below.

The attribution to O’Conor for this painting and the following one is traditional but the two studies show all the hallmarks of O’Conor’s work. Many aspects of the brushwork are comparable, right down to minute detail such as O'Conor's peculiar habit of lifting his brush away from the canvas at the end of a stroke, thereby creating a distinctive stipple. The working method is also familiar. The modelling is carried out with a minimum of fuss using a well charged brush drawn in single, confident strokes over a turpentine wash. The wash is light enough in some areas to allow the priming to show through.

This painting was possibly sold at the O’Conor Studio Sale in the Hotel Drouot, Paris on the 7th of February 1956. The canvas on which it is painted has the same warp and weave count and similar high warp pattern as that supplied to O'Conor by his colourman, Blanchet, from an address at rue Saint Benoit in Paris. The canvas has been laid down on a  fibreboard, which possibly obscures the atelier stamp.

Photograph of a painting by the Irish artist, Roderic O’Conor

Young Breton Girl

Oil on artist on board, reinforced, 15¾ x 12¾ inches
Provenance: Private collection, Brittany;
Thierry Martin, Brest;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art;
Private collection, Dublin
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, June 1990

This type of sketch is often more appealing than a highly finished canvas. Although related to the previous work, there are differences in handling and were most likely painted a year or so apart. She is a little older than the two previous examples, perhaps fourteen or so, and wears a distinctive headdress. The white front of the costume is unusual and it may be that she is a postulant from one of the convents.
The expression on her face is captivating. Typically, she appears to be lost in thought and a little sad. Many of O’Conor’s models were portrayed in this way, both male and female, from the first Breton paintings to his final portraits from the Paris studio. Indeed, in his various self-portraits, O'Conor characterises himself in a similar manner.

These are among O’Conor’s last Breton figure studies. By this time, he had reverted to an academic style, more reminiscent of the Antwerp academy and far removed from his extraordinary expressionist paintings. As a highly perceptive individual, O’Conor must have been aware that he had completed a full circle. With the disintegration of the mainstream Pont-Aven School, he would soon have to move on in search of fresh inspiration.

This painting was possibly sold at the O’Conor Studio Sale in the Hotel Drouot, Paris on the 7th of February 1956. The thin artist board that supports the work is identical to that which was used by O'Conor. It is reinforced with a fibreboard backing, which possibly obscures the atelier stamp.

See also:
Roderic O'Conor: Paris Interiors

Roderic O'Conor: Still Life
Roderic O'Conor: Biography

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