Belfast Telegraph

Atmospheric seascape by Belfast artist set to make waves at auction

By Dick Barton

A century-old oil painting by one of Belfast's greatest artists is expected to fetch up to £120,000 at auction.

Incoming Tide was painted by Paul Henry in 1912 - the year Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage, killing 1,500.

The picture is expected to sell for £80,000-£120,000 at Sotheby's in London on Thursday.

The auctioneers describe it as "a significant early work" by Henry, who was born, raised and educated in Belfast and referred to by his biographer SB Kennedy as "Ireland's greatest 20th century landscape painter".

In his 2007 book, Paul Henry: Paintings, Drawings, Illustrations, Kennedy, the former head of fine and applied art at the Ulster Museum, said: "In his depictions of the landscapes and of the way of life in the west of Ireland in his time, Henry provides the quintessential view of the Irish scene, now as universally familiar as Cezanne's view of Provence or Constable's representations of Suffolk.

"In his own words, he wanted to capture in his work 'the very soul of Ireland' and he did so at a time of momentous social and political change as the Ireland we know today emerged as an independent State."

Paul Henry was born in April 1876 at University Road.

There is now a blue commemorative plaque at his old home.

Henry was educated at Methodist College Belfast.

He painted Incoming Tide in his mid-30s.

Sotheby's said: "Incoming Tide is a significant early work by Paul Henry that demonstrates his already advanced painting technique at this time.

"It is masterful in the economic handling of paint and tonal colour, with only the golden moon that rises above the horizon breaking the emptiness of the evening sky and casting a gentle light over the sea.

"It is a superb display of painterly restraint and highly atmospheric, recalling the influence of his teacher, James McNeill Whistler.

"Incoming Tide was probably painted on Trawmore Strand at Keel, Achill."

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