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  Roderic O'Conor:
      O'Conor: Biography
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   Forgery: European
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Roderic O'Conor 1860-1940

Photograph of a painting by Roderic O'Conor.

Nu Allonge au Divan

Oil on canvas 29 x 36 inches. 73x92cm
Stamped verso ‘atelier O’Conor’
Studio Sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, 1956;
Paul Conran Fine Art, London, 1978;
Private collection, Dublin, 1981
Catalogue, Collection Roderic O’Conor, M. Jean Cailac & Mlle Paule Cailac, Paris, 1956
'Private View', Milmo-Penny & Fennelly, Ashfield Press, Dublin, 2001
‘Private View’, Milmo-Penny Fine Art, May 2001

Price on application.

Painted circa 1910, this is a fine example of O'Conor’s use of the ébauche technique. In his 1985 catalogue notes on a related painting, Reclining Nude Before a Mirror (National Gallery of Ireland), Dr Roy Johnston draws our attention to Couture's use of the technique and how it may have influenced O'Conor: "Couture's painting is a good example of his own pictorial use of the 'ébauche', best described as a light underpainting based on a thin staining of the ground. Over this, Couture would drag a well charged brush in a single decisive stroke. The essence of his method was one of spontaneity and directness, so that this immediately gave the ébauche its own expressive qualities. Principles such as these seem to have guided O'Conor's hand in this delicate, sensitive, and softly-coloured painting."

Johnston's observations apply equally well to the present painting. The flesh tones of the reclining figure are depicted in a transparent turpentine wash, which is light enough to allow the priming layers to show through. The highlights are created by undiluted mixtures of lemon yellow and Naples yellow shade together with deft touches of pink. These are applied with a dry brush dragged spontaneously across the canvas. The shadows are depicted in rich reds applied in a method displaying O'Conor's knowledge of traditional techniques. The dramatically understated portrayal of the outstretched model creates a vivid contrast to the rich colours of the background, painted in O’Conor’s distinctive palette of blues, pinks, crimson and yellow ochre. The short flight of steps in the background and the subdued light of the draped windows gives the painting depth and perspective. This particular aspect sets the work apart apart from the Fauves who rejected perspective in favour of flat planes. The round bottle vase reflected in the aforementioned mirror divan is a familiar feature of O'Conor's Montparnasse interiors. The model is also familiar and sat for Reflexion, his striking study of a girl with waist-length golden hair, seated in the chair that stands in front of the bookcase in the current work.

Nu Allonge au Divan detail
Nu Allonge au Divan framed
Roderic O'Conor Biography
Roderic O'Conor in Paris

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