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Basil Blackshaw, H.R.H.A. (b. 1932)

Yellow Birds

Basil Blackshaw, H.R.H.A. (b. 1932)
Yellow Birds
oil on canvas
20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.5 cm.)
Painted in 1992.
B. Ferran (ed.), Basil Blackshaw - Painter, Belfast, 1995, p. 69, pl. 72, illustrated.
E. Mallie (ed.), Blackshaw, Belfast, 2003, p. 280, pl. 106, illustrated.
Dublin, R.H.A. Gallagher Gallery, The Vincent and Noeleen Ferguson Collection, January - March 1993, no. 9.
Belfast, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Basil Blackshaw - Painter: Tour 1995-1998, 1995-1998, touring exhibition.
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No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

So much of what Blackshaw does is born out of accident and yet there is something contradictory in other ways about that statement. It's not unusual for him to carry an idea around in his head for over fifty years before getting around to uniquely interpreting that image. Being an extremely generous man more often than not people prevail upon him to do what he calls "a wee picture of a horse, a dog, a rooster - whatever". He doesn't always like having to do this from an artistic and creative point of view but doesn't like refusing people. It was out of this environment that Yellow Birds emerged. Victor was one of his many drinking pals from his Lisburn days. He used to give the artist's daughter Anya the odd canary as a gift. (The Blackshaws are crazy about birds and wildlife). "He asked me would I paint a show canary. It didn't really interest me to do so. I did a very representational canary" said Blackshaw. He added "Then I thought, why can't I make a more serious painting for myself using birds?".

The pub in which Blackshaw drank in those days was known affectionately to me as the 'puce pub'. This disclosure of the colour of the pub laid a trap for me. I automatically concluded that Yellow Birds were set against the puce pub walls but nothing could be further from the truth. "It's a pure painterly idea - yellow to purple. I don't think the pub's colour or name made any difference" said Blackshaw.

Eamonn Mallie, biographer of Basil Blackshaw.

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