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Work of the Week | 11 October 2021

CAG.2273 Patrick Scott, Under the Pier, c.1959, oil on canvas laid on board, 74.5 x 62.2 cm. Presented, 2006 (Great Southern Collection). © the artist’s estate.


Under the Pier (c.1959) combines elements of architecture with Patrick Scott’s instinct for colour and relationship to the sea.

“I feel that the sea has had the greatest influence in me, having spent my childhood on the Atlantic,” the artist reflected. “It was the transparent yet solid mass of blue, which stretches on out of sight, that first stirred me to paint.”

Employing a limited palette of white, blue, and black, Scott captures the expansive energy of the sea within the delicate geometry of a pier’s understructure. More Expressionist than his signature ‘Gold Paintings’ that formed later in his career, Under the Pier conveys, as Peter Murray suggests, “a sense of the artist’s own inner thoughts in its attempt to balance order and chaos.”

In the collection since 2006, this painting once hung in the Corrib Great Southern Hotel, Galway.

Patrick Scott (1921-2014) was born at Kilbrittain, County Cork on 24 January 1921. During the 1940s, he exhibited with the White Stag Group and at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, but primarily worked for the architect Michael Scott (no relation) until the end of the 1950s, when this painting was made. At the time, he was poised not only to belatedly become a full-time artist – having won the prestigious Guggenheim Award – but also to represent Ireland at the 30th Venice Biennale (1960). He was subsequently the first Irish living artist to have work collected by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

Under the Pier (c.1959) is featured in PATRICK SCOTT: meditations (Floor 2) until 5 December.

Tune in to The Arts House on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about a work from the collection!

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