Brocquy, Louis Le
Carey, Joseph William
Maderson, Arthur K.
McGuinness, William B.
Yeats, Jack B.
The Graham Knuttel Collection
For all pricing, please contact the gallery.
39 Church Street,
(or by appointment)
Graham Knuttel was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1954, of German and English parentage. Among his mother’s family were several noted architects and artists including Thomas Cooper Gotch who cofounded the Newlyn School of Painting.
He mentions also his great uncle, Archie Leach, better known as Cary Grant. His father’s family roots are cloaked in secrecy and Knuttel considers himself to be Irish or more specifically, a Dubliner. Initially renowned for his large wooden mechanical animated sculptures, Knuttel has more recently emerged as a painter with a rapidly growing international reputation. He is represented in many important collections in Europe and the USA as well as many public collections in Ireland. He is a prolific worker, spending up to 15 hours in his studio every day. His lifestyle could be considered eccentric and in recent years he has become reclusive and attaches great importance to his private life.
My school days were not those of model student. In fact, few of them were spent at school at all. With my schoolbag safely hidden in a neighbour’s hedge, many mornings and afternoons were spent sampling the caf society and pubs of Dublin and exploring the rocky coastline of Dublin Bay.
As my interest on formal education waned, my absorption in drawing and painting grew. When I was eighteen, I started at art school. My years of training had given me an insight into the possibilities of bohemian life and art school suited me very well. I had always had interest in figurative work, in the portrayal of the human condition, and from an early age I was familiar with the work of Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso. In art school I was attracted to the life drawing room where I determined to develop my skills as a figurative painter. I found Graham Knuttel myself to be an intuitive painter. I had little patience with the intellectual processes and conclusions which were involved with abstract and conceptual art. For me, to paint what I saw or felt or imagined around me should be a simple affair, painted from the gut.
In my last year of study, some new tutors arrived, fresh from post-graduate studies in America, and proved to be a dangerous lot altogether.They were rabid abstract expressionists to whom artists such as Barnet Newman assumed god-like status. My difficulty then was that I was isolated as a figurative painter and should I decline to imitate a transatlantic culture, I would certainly be doomed to failure. I found it pragmatic therefore to stop painting temporarily and adjourn to the sculpture department for my final year. My tutor there was an elderly sculptor who had seen trends come and go over the years and who emphasised to me the qualities of the older painters Cezanne, Goya, Rembandt. From his lifetime of carving wood and stone he was able to tell me something of the way that light reveals form and how paint can break the light into colours. It was a valuable year for me.
I developed a love for sculpture at this time and for some years worked hard in carving and construction. However through drawing and using colour in my sculpture, I gradually found myself returning to painting. Nowadays I work as both a painter and a sculptor. For a young artist, the initial years are extremely tough and hazardous. The bohemian life can be often dangerous too. My observations of humanity led me down some very dark alleyways indeed during my wilderness years, and like my grandfather I am also prone to shout in my sleep at my memories. At the beginning of 1987 I realised that I must mend my ways.
Overnight I became a workaholic with sensational results. Nowadays painting is an obsession for me. I have a strict discipline and I work from first light every morning until darkness, and beyond. As I work, I use as source matter my experiences as a younger man. I like to paint the human predicament as I have seen it. My figures appear in an urban landscape of which I am part. I try to use colour and form to express the emotion of my figures.
I have recently developed this to include portraiture which I find exhilarating. I prefer a nightmare world full of shadows where danger and savagery is always close to hand. My own doubts and fears and hopes are expressed on the faces that appear in the bars and backrooms in my work. Mr. Punch is my alter ego. He reflects my moods.We fight the same battles from the same cupboards. I return in my work constantly to still-life as a source of inspiration. Its potential for simplicity and invention and its deep roots in tradition bring me back to my student studies of Cezanne and Picasso. I try not to concern myself overly with intellectual reasoning or planning in my work. As a hard-working painter, my concerns are mainly technical, practical and immediate. My concern is to paint the picture first and think about it afterwards. That way I can progress in a proper manner. Above all I try to speak with my own voice and see with my own eyes.