Wednesday, November 14, 2012

William John Leech: Irish Painter in Brittany


William John Leech (1881-1968) was an Irish artist who spent much of his life painting elsewhere. Although there is at least one book about him, biographical information on the Internet is thin; some sites are here, here and here.

Leech had a long career, and the following paintings are, or seem to be, from the later part of it when he was based in England and painted there and in the South of France. But these are not the works of his that I prefer.


Chloe Abbott - 1965

Boats on the Stour - c.1960

Shipping, Billingsgate

Farm Gate

The paintings that impressed me when I visited Dublin recently were done in Brittany and often featured his stunning wife (for a time) Elizabeth Saurine. The reason I was impressed might well have been Elizabeth. Here are some from that phase of Leech's career:


Les Soeurs de Saint-Ésprit, Concarneau - c.1911

Girl with a Tinsel Scarf - c.1912

The Sunshade

Portrait of Elizabeth (Mrs Kerlin, neé Lane) - c.1910

A Convent Garden in Brittany - c.1913
Perhaps Leech's best-known painting. Information about it is here.

3 comments:

Tom J. Byrne said...

Leech has always been one of my favourite painters. I fell in love with his wife Elizabeth when I was a child and would return again and again to see her portrait with the sunshade, in the Hugh Lane gallery. I think it is now in the National Gallery, in Dublin.

It's remarkable the difference in his work after they split up. Perhaps it was also France but a country can be returned to with greater ease than a relationship.

Nancy said...

The Sunshade is in the National Gallery in Dublin. We visited last summer, I was disappointed that it was being renovated and so much was not on display, but The Sunshade was so that made it all worthwhile!

Donald Pittenger said...

Nancy -- I had better luck in 2012, seeing several Leech paintings there, which is why I assembled this post.