The lay of the land
NEW LANDSCAPES Molesworth Gallery, Dublin Mon-Fri 10am-5.30pm, Sat 11am-2pm Until Dec 24 molesworthgallery.com
Now in his 80s, Walter Verling is, quite simply, one of the great Irish landscape painters, working consistently in the classical realist tradition as exemplified by Camille Corot. And, as Blaise Smith notes, like Corot he is also “a curiously modern painter” in that there is a timeless, “unemotive objectivity” to his plein air landscapes (above left) that makes them universally understandable – and enjoyable – regardless of artistic fashion.
Smith, himself established as a fine contemporary realist, painted side-by-side with the older artist on several occasions and bravely hangs his own work (below left) beside Verling’s in New Landscapes. Bravely because, as Blaise observed when they compared their views of the River Barrow: “I prefer his version myself because it’s about colour . . . My painting is fine, but it lacks sparkle, vivacity, fun even.”