The emergence of post impressionism is probably one of the most colorful and thrilling movements to ever happen in the world of art. Whenever we think about post impressionism, four names usually come to mind: Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Georges Seurat, and of course, Vincent Van Gogh.
(Vincent Van Gogh: Wheat Field with Cornflowers)
There’s one name you probably haven’t heard of yet, though. Roderic O’Conor. An Irishman who spent most of his life in France, O’Conor was surprisingly popular amongst artists. In fact, he even got into a brawl with Paul Gauguin and two other artists against a bunch of sailors in Breton fishing port in Concarneau. It was in this brawl that Gauguin got the broken ankle which will eventually plague him up to his death.
(Roderic O’Conor: Field of Corn)
So, why doesn’t O’Conor’s name ring any bells?
That’s because he wasn’t too focused on putting his work out there. It wasn’t only until fifteen years after his death that his works even circulated in public when his widow auctioned all of them off.
(Roderic O’Conor: A Tree in a Field)
He was well subsidized by his family, so he really didn’t feel the need to sell his works for a living, unlike other prominent artists at the time. What he did enjoy, though, is to go and view exhibits as much as he can. He liked examining styles and translating them into his own.
(Cuno Amiet: Blossoming Orchard)
This is the reason why we can almost hear Van Gogh or Cuno Amiet’s work echoing in his own pieces, and why some critics think his work as quite indecisive. Recognize the thick, bold, brush strokes of color? As well as those landscapes that can seemingly pop out into life at any moment?
Despite a lot of us not recognizing his name today, a lot of his contemporaries surprisingly know him well. He was an active member of different art circles, after all.
(Roderic O’Conor: The Glade)
If you are intrigued and want to see more of O’Conor’s works, then you can view Roderic O’Conor and the Moderns: Between Paris and Pont-Aven in the Beit Wing at the National Gallery of Ireland which will run from July 18 to October 28, 2018. It will be the first retrospective show dedicated to him in thirty years, and promises to show works that have never been viewed publicly before.