Roderick O’Conor

Life
1860-1940; b. Co. Roscommon, 17 Oct.; ed. Ampleforth, Metropolitan Art School, and Antwerp; emigrated to France about 1885; inherited estate 1893, sold to Land Commission, 1910; exhibited in Salon des Independents; joined Pont Avon [var. Aven] circle in Brittainy, 1891; close friend of Gauguin; returned to Paris in 1904; the character Clutton in Maugham’s Of Human Bondage based on him; d. Neuilly-sur-Layon, 18 March; his wife Renée Honta, formerly his model, 34 years younger; exhibition of his prints held at Pont Avon, Spring 1999, incl. those at The Indianapolis Museum of Art, subsequently hosted by National Gallery of Ireland (13th Aug. 2001). DIB BREF

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Criticism
Paula Murphy, Roderick O’Conor (1992) [short study]; Jonathan Benington, Roderick O’Conor (Dublin IAP 1992), 247pp.

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Commentary
Brian Fallon, review of Jonathan Benington, Roderick O’Conor (IAP 1992), 247pp. [biog-cat.] in [q.source]; sold few paintings in his lifetime, his work coming up for auction when his widow died in 1956. Fallon calls him probably the best of the Franco-Irish artists, but poses the question did not shyness in the market place derive from confidence or insecurity. ‘My on feeling is that he was one of those gifted but insecure personalities who are almost fatally impressionable and always liable to be overwhelmed by the big, original geniuses of the age - in his case, Gauguin, Monet, van Gogh, Cezanne.’ He also notes the distrustful, almost paranoid streak, and the strange, in-and-out career, and the Tuohy reserve which only a select number of old friends succeeded in breaking through. A relation of the O’Conor don, son of a Roscommon landowner with a thriving business in Dublin; ed. Ampleforth; briefly engaged to a Finnish artist; married a girl from Pays Bas thirty years younger than himself; taught her to paint.

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Notes
Somerset Maugham: Maugham, who based the character Clutton in Of Human Bondage on O’Conor, owned his still-life painting “Choufleur”, which subsequently sold for £93,000 at an Irish auction in 1993.

Kith & Kin [nr. namesake]: see L. M. Geary, ‘From Connerville, Co. Cork, to Connorville, Van Diemen's Land: the Irish Family Background and Colonial Career of Roderic O'Connor, 1786/7-1860’ in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand: History, Politics and Culturem, ed. L. M. Geary and A. J. McCarthy (Dublin: IAP 2008), pp.152-69. [Supplied by Elizabeth Malcolm on Diaspora Irish Studies list, 10.03.2009.)

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