This is the first comprehensive assessment of the career of T.P. Flanagan (1929-2011), generally regarded as the major landscapist working in Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century and the most significant watercolourist of his generation in Ireland. Educated at the Belfast College of Art, in his work Flanagan placed great emphasis on drawing and the rendition of forms through tonal relationships. As a painter he always eschewed abstraction and instead maintained what he called a ‘respect’ for nature and a ‘human identity,’ his work being the outcome of deep meditation rather than recorded observation - an approach which chimes with Flanagan's accomplishments as a writer and his strong connections with Ireland's literary circles. Significant works such as Boglands (for Seamus Heaney) - which inspired his life-long friend Seamus Heaney to write the poem Bogland in turn - underline the contemplative nature of his oeuvre.Although he painted portraits and still-lifes, landscape was Flanagan's main interest. His explorations of form and his experimentation with materials have left a rich body work, from pictures capturing the subtleties of refraction and reflection to those tackling challenging themes such as Northern Ireland's 'Troubles'. Skilfully drawing together the many strands of Flanagan's prolific career, S.B. Kennedy presents the definitive account of the life and work of one of Ireland's foremost artists.
Contents: Foreword, Seamus Heaney; Preface and acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Early Years 1929-49; 2. Belfast and the College of Art 1949-53; 3. Post-Art College 1953-61; 4. Emerging artist 1961-8; 5. Roughra 1968-74; 6. Painting the ‘Troubles’ and other issues 1974-83; 7. Painting for pleasure and a European odyssey 1984-91; 8. Towards a retrospective 1992-5; 9. Other matters 1995-8; 10. Last years 1999-2010; 11. Afterword; Endnotes; List of exhibitions; Chronology; Works in public and corporate collections; Bibliography; Photographic acknowledgements; Index.
About the Author: Dr S.B. Kennedy, formerly Head of Art at the Ulster Museum, is well-known in Irish art circles. He has arranged many exhibitions and has published many catalogues, articles and other papers in his area of interest. His books include the widely acclaimed Irish Art and Modernism 1880-1950, monographs on Frank McKelvey and David Crone and a catalogue raisonné of the work of the influential Irish landscapist Paul Henry.
Reviews: ‘A fascinating biography of a singular artist, Seamus Heaney dubs it “a virtual catalogue raisonné”. The illustrations are plentiful, and good.’ Irish Arts Review
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