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Donald McIntyre (1923 - 2009)

Donald McIntyre (1923-2009) is an artist whose prices at auction have continued to rise. We think of McIntyre as a Welsh artist as he spent some 45 years of his artistic career in North Wales and his first commercial steps came about through The Howard Roberts Gallery in Cardiff. However, he was born in Leeds to Scottish parents and his childhood years were spent in the West Coast of Scotland.

McIntyre practiced as a dentist initially, before taking up his paints full time with encouragement from Howard Roberts. He was inspired by the British coastline, Anglesey, Cornwall and particularly Iona where he would often travel back to.
McIntyre’s body of work evolved during his career. His earlier work was very different to his later paintings.

His earlier paintings from the 1960s through to the early 80s often had an earthy palette and frequently he would introduce a narrative by the inclusion of a figure or two, the figures were invariably expressionless and in a context to raise questions of the viewer, for instance a figure standing alone in the shadow of a beach-hut or perhaps curiously staring at an object at a table in solitude. There was a mystery to many of these compositions with the artist retaining the answers which may frustrate some viewers, one may feel closed off from the narrative and consider the composition too personal. Other viewers may be intrigued and excited by the mystery.

We frequently handle these early examples in their original chrome frames with cloth or hessian mounts giving them a mid-Century retro and ‘hip’ appearance. For me, this period of work is more intriguing than his later work although it is his later work that commands the greater sums at the auction rooms.

McIntyre’s later work in acrylic is heavily influenced by the Scottish Colourist tradition such as Francis Cadell. McIntyre’s palette became almost psychedelic with electric-shock seas, purple tinted rocks and lucid sands, his figures became smaller during this period, used as a tool for scale and to humanize a landscape, rather than the main feature of the painting.

The prices for McIntyre’s later work have shot up in the last few years and I can see why; there is a freedom about his later acrylic work where the reality of the subject matter is secondary to the experience of colour. These electric colours suit our modern interiors, they illuminate the room, they have an immediate feel good factor, while his earlier work required a degree of contemplation.

I still prefer to contemplate but whichever McIntyre period you favour, there is no denying the artist’s phenomenal talent and his amazing ability to adapt and evolve and consequently his wide appeal. Dentistry’s loss was certainly our gain!

If you would like us to assess your Donald McIntyre painting for reference without any obligation please contact us, we would love to share our thoughts with you.

Wales

Ben Rogers Jones BA (Anrh)
HYNAFOLION A CHELF GYMREIG & ARBENIGWR HEN BETHAU’R BYD CHWARAEON

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