James Humbert Craig
Born July 12 1877 in Belfast to Alexander Craig, a tea merchant, and a Swiss mother, Marie Metzenen, from a family with a painting tradition. Principally a landscape painter, Craig had a great fondness for the Glens of Antrim, where he kept a studio at Cushendun. The fresh softness of his Antrim paintings is offset by the more rugged western maritime landscapes painted in Donegal and Connemara. Humbert Craig was a stylist in that he had the eye to see and the skill to make others see what he saw, never attempting to embellish or distort nature. His job, as he saw it, was to reflect nature as ïshe saw bestÍ.. Once, being admonished by the short-sighted AE for his treatment of a scene, Craig said "Pardon me, Mr.Russell, but may I look at your spectacles?" AE handed over his thick glasses which Craig perched on his nose. Finding that he could see nothing, he exclaimed "There you are Mr.Russell, thatÍs why you and I paint the same scene differently." Humbert Craig painted in situ and his hawk-like eyes missed nothing and left nothing to chance. He was at his happiest out-of-doors, if not painting then indulging in his second great love, the art of angling. Widely regarded as a modest man, Craig made no pretensions to intellectualism or mystique in his art. Successful in his day, Craig was elected to the Royal Ulster Academy and the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1928, the year in which he also exhibited at the Fine Arts Society in London. Examples of his work may be seen in the collections of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, The Armagh County Museum, The Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery in Dublin, The Ulster Museum in Belfast and The National Gallery of Ireland. The Oriel Gallery mounted an exhibition of his work in 1978.