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Markey Robinson
Title - Jug of Flowers with Vase

circa 1980

$7,500Asking Price

About

Markey Robinson was one of the most important Irish artists of the twentieth century. The dimensions given for Jug of Flowers with Vase are the framed dimensions. They are provided for the purpose of computing the shipping cost. The actual painting dimensions are 12.75 x 19.75 inches. The frame has been on the painting for over thirty years. It has a distressed look. The gold paint has lifted in some spots. The overall look is consistent with a frame of this vintage. The following essay is taken from the catalog The Paintings of Markey published by Renaissance Art Gallery, Philadelphia in 1990. The catalog has forty-four color plates by the artist. A copy of the catalog accompanies the painting. Many qualities combine in Markey to create an unforgettable style, but none more than the tenacity of striving day after day for an art uniquely his own. This continuous endeavor over a period of more than fifty years has paved the way for an art that is both profound and original. Markey was born David Marcus Robinson in Belfast, present-day Northern Ireland, in 1918. The son of a signwriter, he had no early formal art training except for drawing lessons, which he received at Perth Street School. However, his enthusiasm for art showed itself from the beginning. As a child, he often spent long hours indoors sketching and drawing in the kitchen of his home on Arkwright Street. Later he would attend the Belfast College of Art. Markey is an artist of considerable daring. From start to finish his work is bold and decisive. These qualities are apparent in his use of both color and line. On occasion, Markey's palette is inflamed with such intensity and vitality that we cannot but forgive him when he paints his sky brown and his earth blue. Indeed, the surreal, Fauve nature of his palette often goes unnoticed because the canvas accepts it as an indispensable part of the final gestalt. With his use of line Markey gives a tremendous solidity to his images allowing them to become clearly imprinted in our mind. But he is not dependent on line. When he omits to use it, as in The Ruin, plate 16 and works with color alone, he still achieves technical success. Sometimes, as in Bottle with Blue Centre, plate 7, Markey uses his brush to create smooth, flat areas of paint, a technique that mediates a great stillness. By contrast, when he paints storm clouds, as in Impending Storm on the Western Seaboard, plate 12, his brushstrokes become heavier and more angular, charging the scene with an ominous mood. One of the main features of Markey's art is his attention to shape. Indeed, when people see his paintings for the first time, it is often the triangular shape of the gable ends of cottages and sailboats which impresses most. This preoccupation with the shape of things ultimately evolves into a study of form. In Tugboat against the City Skyline, plate 21, detail is of secondary interest to the artist. What really concerns him is the essentialness of what is there. It is the essence, the very soul of the bridge and the boats and the buildings across the river which he endeavors to reveal. As a narrative artist Markey achieved considerable success and many of the paintings in this mold show scenes which closely parallel events in his own life. By the Rising of the Moon, plate 18, is one of the best paintings of all his narrative works and is almost certainly autobiographical. Both in the scope of its message and its execution, this painting is courageous and impactful. It addresses the issue of human loyalties in an imperfect world. The work predates the breakup of the artist's family. A freedom which Markey allowed himself from his earliest days, and one which had the profoundest effect on the development of his art, is travel. At various times throughout his life, Markey traveled and lived in rural areas of the West of Ireland, North and South America, Europe, and the Mediterranean. Living among the people of these rural societies, Markey chose the most elemental aspects of those societies as his subject matter. Thus we find, in scenes from the West of Ireland, that he paints women standing about in small groups on the shore waiting for their men to land safely with the catch. The perennial threat of losing their loved ones to the sea is what sets the tone in many fishing communities, and motivates the women to gather on the beach. The artist, by painting the anxious assembly, shows this awareness. Of course, travel also brought Markey in contact with the great urban communities of the world. If any place can give an artist confidence to pursue a specific and personal vision, it is Paris, and Markey nurtures a special affection for this city. There he found acceptance for his art and became a participant in the great community of artists. Regular periods spent living in the city allowed him to keep abreast of the great European art movements. In the years following the Second World War, Markey supplemented his income as an artist by working as a toymaker. Many of his metal toy soldiers from this period survive today in private collections. He also painted scenes of sailing boats on the surface of drinking glasses which were then sold through the Belfast Co-op on York Street. This was also the period when he was working as a sculptor in bronze and wood and as a stained glass artist. Markey's stained glass has a distinct Irish mood. It often shows women and children wearing woolen shawls and standing around clusters on the strand as the fishing boats come ashore. Today, along with his wood carvings, the stained glass of Markey is highly prized, and in 1987 during the reconstruction to the front of the Oriel Gallery in Dublin, stained glass based on his designs was used in the windows. Though Markey made several trips to Dublin from the 1940s onwards, he went there as a visitor for the last time at the beginning of the 1970s. Since then he has made his home in the city of James Joyce, contributing to the art lore of the capital like few before him. A man who never sought fame or fortune, he nonetheless emerged as the foremost Irish artist of his generation. Markey is the last in a long line of European masters. On the way to accomplishing his own identifiable style, he assimilated the major trends in 20th-century European painting. This he achieved without compromising his integrity as an artist. Never are we in doubt, when we look at the paintings of Markey, that it is 'Markey' and not another artist that we are seeing. Nor do we forget. The paintings of Markey remain with us as an intrinsic part of our artistic experience. Colm Rowan Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 1989

Details

  • Creator
    Markey Robinson (1918, Irish)
  • Creation Year
    circa 1980
  • Dimensions
    Height: 24.75 in. (62.87 cm)Width: 17.75 in. (45.09 cm)Depth: 1 in. (2.54 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    East Hampton, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU145927667492

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