Paul Henry

Paul Henry Dawn Killary Harbour.jpg

Dawn, Killary Harbour (1921)

Henry was born in Belfast in 1876 where he studied art before moving to Paris in 1898. His Irish landscapes are far from being sentimental or romantic, as he portrays the harsh austerity of life on Achill Island and the West Coast in the early 20th century. He depicts the thankless toil of the peasant workers, the threatening rains and the barren, impenetrable landscape. 

Henry's pale limited palette completely belongs to his subject matter; there's no frills here. This image of Killary Harbour draws me in - the subtle reveal of the ocean in the distance and the bold mass of rock in the foreground. The light is exquisite while the colours remain muted. The land, at first flat and devoid of detail, begins to scream depth; and the water should be forcing huge reflections from the mountains but defiantly it doesn't. This piece is owned by the Ulster Museum, Belfast.