William Henry Bartlett ROI RBC (1858 -1932) Digging for Clam...

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William Henry Bartlett ROI RBC (1858 -1932) Digging for Clams, Connemara Oil on canvas 77 x 127cm (30¼ x 50) Signed and dated 1881 William Henry Bartlett (1858 – 1932) was born on the Isle of Wight, the son of an art dealer, John Searle Bartlett and received his artistic education over the course of the mid-1870s at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Académie Julian, under Bouguereau. It is likely that Bartlett met some of the young Irish artists also studying in Paris at that time but it is thought that it was an American artist, Howard Helmick, living at the time near Galway, who introduced him to Ireland in the late 1870s. Amongst his earliest paintings in Ireland are scenes of the everyday lives, activities and costume of the people of Connemara and Achill, subjects he relished in portraying, as William Laffan noted with ‘an almost ethnographic approach’. His interest as a painter was primarily in the occupations of the locals, the fishing, the gathering of wrack, and the ferrying of cattle to and from the markets and fairs, and in the present work from 1881, two boys digging for clams. While his West of Ireland sea and landscapes are confidently and fluently painted, it is his representation of the activities of the inhabitants that set William Bartlett apart from many of his peers. By the turn of the century, he had discovered Donegal and indeed acquired a cottage on Inis Mhic an Doirn (Rutland Island), a coastal island located between the town of Burtonport and the island of Arranmore. Bartlett exhibited a Donegal scene at the 1906 Paris Salon and a year later showed Storm Bound in the Rosses at the Irish International Exhibition. A reviewer in the Irish Times described the artist as being ‘ illustrative of the spirit in which the modern landscape painter approaches his subject’. The review continues ‘ Here is a scene absolutely true to nature, one which is instinct with the genius loci, as those who have travelled in the North-West of Donegal will freely acknowledge’.

Auction Date:
29th May 24 at 6pm BST

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Sale Dates:
29th May 2024 6pm BST (Lots 1.00 to 124.00)