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Patrick Swift, Irish, Irish, 1927 - 1983
Title: Girl in a Garden
Date: c. 1951-52
Medium: Oil on canvas
134.5 x 106.5 cm
Signed: lower right: SWIFT
Credit Line: Purchased, 2017
Object Number: NGI.2017.8
DescriptionThis is one of a series of works by Swift set inside and around the artist’s studio on Hatch Street in Dublin. The young woman in the painting is the American poet Claire McAllister, Swift’s girlfriend at the time. Both were members of a vibrant artistic set that included, among others, poets Anthony Cronin and Patrick Kavanagh, writer Brendan Behan and artist Nano Reid. McAllister was a student at Trinity College, Dublin.

Swift and McAllister moved into a large flat in a Georgian house on Hatch Street, the front half of which they sublet to the painter Patrick Pye as a studio. McAllister and Swift stayed together until 1952, when the artist began a relationship with Oonagh Ryan (who he subsequently married) and settled with her in London.

Swift’s work of this period suggests the influence of Lucian Freud, five years his senior, who he had first met in 1949 (Freud travelled regularly to Ireland to see his future wife Lady Caroline Blackwood of Clandeboye Estate in Northern Ireland). However, Swift’s work was more tonal than Freud’s, and more graphic in character.
ProvenancePurchased, Adam's Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers, St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Important Irish Art Sale, 29 March 2017, lot 70
Exhibition HistoryPatrick Swift: An Irish Painter in Portugal, Palácio Foz, Lisbon, October/November 2001; Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, December 2001 - February 2002

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