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    ALOYSIUS C. O'KELLY (American/British, 1853-1926)
    Tugboats in the East River, New York, circa 1910
    Oil on canvas
    20-1/8 x 29 inches (51.1 x 73.7 cm)
    Signed lower right: Aloys O'Kelly

    Private collection, Tomkins Cove, New York.

    Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, November 24, 1999-January 29, 2000.

    N. O'Sullivan, Aloysius O'Kelly, exhibition catalogue, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, 1999, p. 102, illustrated.

    Recently, art historians have devoted new attention to the skilled and eclectic work of the Irish painter Aloysius O'Kelly. Born in Dublin in 1853, O'Kelly trained in Paris during the 1870s at the École des Beaux-Arts, developing a refined technique under the tutelage of academic masters Jean-Léon Gérôme and Léon Bonnat. During the 1880s, he lived primarily in Connemara, Ireland, and produced realist, politically tinged genre paintings of the rural working class. O'Kelly's passion for travel and picturesque subjects took him to Brittany in northern France and to Cairo, and he became equally sought out for his sensitive portraits of Breton peasants and for his Orientalist scenes of Egyptian mosques and bazaars. In 1895, O'Kelly immigrated to New York, where he lived for the next thirty years, painting subjects ranging from portraits of the fictional Huckleberry Finn and the New York mayor John Purroy to Impressionist landscapes on the Sheepscott River in Maine.

    The East River, circa 1910, stands apart as one of O'Kelly's few industrial New York landscapes. Shaping the composition is the dramatic cantilever Queensboro Bridge connecting Manhattan and Long Island, considered an engineering marvel at its completion in 1909. Here, the viewer looks north from the East River toward Queens, with its dense cluster of factories and warehouses sparking to life in the early morning haze. O'Kelly cleverly plays with geometric patterns -- the rhythmic lines of the waves and the crisscrossing cables of the bridge -- and softens these hard edges with atmospheric clouds and steam puffs belching from foreground tugboats. O'Kelly's only other extant urban architectural work is of the original Metropolitan Hospital near the Queensboro Bridge.

    Condition Report*: Unlined; craquelure throughout with stretcher creases along edges; a faint surface scratch in the lower right quadrant; under UV exam, there appears to be a few minor spots of inpaintingm more notably in the hull of the tugboat and along the hauling rope. Framed Dimensions 29.625 X 35.625 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    2nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,698

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