Clint Eastwood portrait by Basil Blackshaw found i...
Following the death of Northern Ireland painter Basil Blackshaw last year at the age of 83, some 40 pieces of art from his studio in Co Antrim will be auctioned by Adam’s this month. It is holding a preview of the sale in the Ava Gallery on the Clandeboye Estate outside Belfast this week, which continues until Wednesday, March 15th. The most unexpected and unlikely image in the show is a portrait of Hollywood star Clint Eastwood by Basil Blackshaw. It’s not a commissioned piece and it’s understood that the two men never met. The painting was found in a stable beneath Blackshaw’s studio when he died and has never been on the market before. In a catalogue note the critic Eamonn Mallie said “Basil loved edge-of-the-town men, edge-of-society people, Travellers, doggie men, horsey people, drinkers, cockfighting, boxing and ‘western films’ and other films portraying hard men like Clint Eastwood”.
He describes the painting as a “gem” and “an outstanding portrayal of Eastwood from a great period of Basil’s output”. Eastwood (86) is an American film star best known for his roles in “spaghetti Westerns”‘ including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and other popular films including Play Misty For Me, Where Eagles Dare and The Bridges of Madison County. James O’Halloran of Adam’s said “there’s no questioning that Ulster has produced more than its fair share of Ireland’s finest artists”, and in addition to Blackshaw “The Art of Ulster” also features artists including Paul Henry, George Russell (AE), Frank McKelvey, James Humbert Craig, Maurice C Wilks, Daniel O’Neill, Colin Middleton, TP Flanagan, Cecil Maguire and George Campbell. There is also a selection of what Adam’s describes as the “Art of the Troubles” that is rarely seen at auction, including two sculptures from FE McWilliam’s 1975 “Banner Series”. The exhibition is open this weekend – today and tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, 2pm-5pm, and then Monday to Wednesday, 11am to 5pm, in the courtyard of Clandeboye Estate where there is free parking. The art will then be moved to Dublin for viewing at the St Stephen’s Green saleroom ahead of the auction on March 29th.