RODERIC O’CONOR An exact contemporary of Charles Gruppe, O’Conor is listed as both Irish and Irish-American (by Bénézit, in error). His place of birth was Roscommon, Ireland (on 17 October 1860). Regarded as Ireland’s most progressive painter of his time, O’Conor was close to both Gauguin and Armand Seguin in the Pont-Aven region, and he was wealthy enough to purchase paintings by Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, Manet, and others. O’Conor studied art in Dublin (1879-83), Antwerp (1883), then in Paris under Carolus-Duran and at the Académie Julian. He was working in Grèz-sur-Loing in the 1880s (Jacobs, 1985, p. 33), and began exhibiting his works at the Salon des Indépendants in 1890. Later he would take part in the Salon d’Automne. O’Conor first came to Brittany in 1890, and two years later he executed Yellow Landscape at Pont-Aven (Barnet Shine Collection, London). At Pont-Aven, O’Conor also did engravings. The Irishman befriended Gauguin there, also in 1892. The latter tried to persuade his “drinking buddy” O’Conor to accompany him to Tahiti. The Irish painter was certainly as avant-garde as Gauguin. Breton Peasant Knitting, already post-impressionistic, was painted in 1893, and The Farm at Lezaven, Finistère (National Gallery of Ireland), a year later. According to tradition, O’Conor inspired the character of Clutton, the failed artist in Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. The letters between Seguin and O’Conor were published in 1989, as Une vie de bohème. In the introduction, Denys Sutton describes how O’Conor served as Seguin’s “father confessor.” O’Conor’s friend Clive Bell (in Old Friends, 1956, p. 163), pointed out that O’Conor “seems to have known . . . most of the more interesting French painters of his generation — the Nabis for instance.” O’Conor’s use of bold color anticipates the Fauves and the German Expressionists. His knowledge of avant-garde painting had a direct impact on the formalist critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell. O’Conor influenced both Robert Vonnoh and Edward Potthast in Grèz, and he oriented Alden Brooks (1840-1931) to Vincent van Gogh’s innovative techniques. Brooks stated that O’Conor was “considered by all the one genius of the crowd.” (Hill, 1987, p. 14). He died at Neuil-sur-Layon on 18 March 1940.
Francois (Frank) J. Girardin (Painter) [1856-1945] Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Frank Girardin began his art instruction in 1870 under Frank Noble and later Frank Duveneck at the Cincinnati Art Academy. A semi-pro baseball player in Cincinnati, he was best known for his beautiful landscapes of both Indiana and California. An extremely active participant in the development of the Art Association of Richmond and original member of the local Sketch Club, he served on the Board of Directors of Art Association for several years. He was considered ranked next to the late John E. Bundy in talent and skill by the former Art Association Director, Mrs. Ella Bond Johnston. It was during his time in Indiana, that he received the most recognition for his work. In 1903, he won first prize for his painting, “Lingering Snow” at the Cincinnati Art Club Show. This would be one of numerous prizes and awards the he would receive during his time in Indiana, including the coveted Mary T. R. Foulke Prize. In 1910, Girardin moved to Redondo Beach, California where he continued to paint the local landscape. Although living in Californian, he never forgot his friends in Richmond, continuing to participate in the annual exhibition by Indiana artists. Many California residents referred to him as “The Beech Tree Painter”. Indiana public schools and libraries, including the Richmond Community Schools, Morrison-Reeves Library, and the Fayette County Public Library, purchased or acquired works. His paintings are in the San Diego Art Museum and the Richmond Art Museum.
courtesy ask art