Portrait of Oliver Duane Odysseus Gogarty (Known as Noll)

by Gerald Brockhurst

This is a portrait of Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957), an Irish poet, author, surgeon, athlete, politician, and well-known conversationalist. He was a onetime friend of James Joyce and served as the inspiration for Buck Mulligan in Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 14.0 x 10.0 ins/ 35.6 x 25.4 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘G. Brockhurst’ (lower right)
MEDIUM: Watercolour and pastel

Catalogue No: 6067 Categories: , Tag:

The subject of this portrait is Oliver St. John Gogarty (1878-1957), an Irish poet, author, surgeon, athlete, politician, and well-known conversationalist. He was a onetime friend of James Joyce and served as the inspiration for Buck Mulligan in Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

British-born painter and etcher Gerald Leslie Brockhurst was a precociously gifted, an excellent draughtsman, and a fine craftsman. He won several prizes at the Royal Academy Schools and went on to have a highly successful career as a society portraitist, first in Britain and then in the USA, where he settled in 1939, working in New York and New Jersey.

He is best known for his portraits of glamorous women, painted in an eye-catching, dramatically lit, formally posed style similar to that later associated with Annigoni. As an etcher Brockhurst is remembered particularly for Adolescence (1932), a powerful study of a naked girl on the verge of womanhood staring broodingly into a mirror—one of the masterpieces of 20th-century printmaking.

Commissioned by the sitter’s father, Oliver St John Gogarty;
Thence by family descent to the sitter’s sister, Brenda Williams (née Gogarty);
Thence to her daughter, Clare Williams;
Her estate sale;
Private Collection United Kingdom

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Brockhurst was one of the most technically gifted etchers of his day. He attended Birmingham School of Art from the age of ten and, in 1907, entered the Royal Academy Schools in London where he won several awards. A travel scholarship allowed him to visit Paris and Italy, where the art of the Italian Renaissance proved to have a lasting influence on his work. Although he portrayed many men, he excelled in his portraits of women. His skill and technique enabled him to depict textures such as lace, fur and hair, with a beauty and elegance that subverted established limitations of printmaking. In 1937 he was elected an Academician of the Royal Academy. Two years later he moved to America, where he remained until his death.

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