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8 Mainie Jellet 1897-1944 WAVE Gouache, 21" x 15" (53.5 x 38cm), signed & dated 1934.

In the deeply conservative Irish art world of the 1920s and ʹ30s, Mainie Jellett was among the small number of Irish painters who were influenced by Cubism. She was undoubtedly the artist who absorbed it most completely. From the 1920s until her death two decades later, her Cubist-inspired paintings put her at the forefront of the Irish avant-garde.

J ellett wanted her paintings to be inspired by the outer appearance of something and not merely reproduce it. So, when she looked at the sea as the starting point for ‘Wave’, she was looking for its ‘inner rhythms’ or patterns – something that visually defines it. You can see here how she captures the rolling, fluid rhythm of the waves, which she identified as the heart of her subject. The dramatic contrast of light and dark, the bold patterning and the swirling shapes are used to convey the power of the sea – you can almost hear the crashing of the waves. It’s not surprising that in 1937 Jellett decided to use this gouache as a preliminary study for a larger oil painting and that in recent years Ceadogán, recognising its timeless appeal, got permission from the artist’s estate to translate this design into a rug. 

Dr Frances Ruane HRHA, May 2019 €8000 - 12000


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