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    Thursday, February 15th, 2018

    A major exhibition by pioneering German Expressionist painter Emil Nolde (1867-1956) with 120 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints has just opened at the National Gallery of IrelandEmil Nolde: Colour is Life is a collaboration between the National Gallery of Ireland, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Emil Nolde Foundation in Seebüll, the artist’s former home in North Germany.

    It spans Nolde’s career from his early atmospheric paintings of his homeland right through to the intensely coloured oils, to his so-called ‘unpainted pictures’ – works done on small pieces of paper during the Third Reich, when Nolde was branded a ‘degenerate’ artist and forbidden to work as a professional artist. The works on show also include Nolde’s famous flower and garden paintings, and his extraordinary religious paintings, with their mix of spirituality and eroticism.

    The exhibition is grouped into themes: Idea of Home; the Metropolis; Conflict and Ecstasy; the South Seas and the Exotic; and Sea and Garden pictures.  Over forty oil paintings and fifty works on paper will be shown alongside examples of Nolde’s work from the Gallery’s own collection. The co-curators are National Gallery of Ireland’s Director Sean Rainbird; and Curator of European Art 1850-1950 Janet McLean – along with Keith Hartley, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, who will curate the exhibition when it moves to Edinburgh next July.  It continues in Dublin until June 10.

    Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
    Large Poppies (Red, Red, Red), 1942 © Nolde Stiftung Seebül

    Emil Nolde (1867-1956)
    Candle Dancers, 1912 © Nolde Stiftung Seebüll


    Monday, January 1st, 2018
    The annual January exhibition of Turner watercolours at the National Gallery of Ireland  this year is a conversation across the centuries. Good Morning Mister Turner – Niall Naessens and J.M.W. Turner – brings together the gallery’s Vaughan Bequest of 31 watercolours and a series of etchings and drawings by the Brandon based printmaker who worked as master printer in the Graphic Studio for many years.
    Naessens approaches Turner’s works obliquely, not as images to be imitated or interpreted, but as a means of looking at the landscape. He has created an artists book with 13 small etchings in a yellow box, eleven framed prints and five drawings for the exhibitions.

    Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) -Ostend Harbour, c.1840 Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    Niall Naessens (b.1961) – Artist Seen Taking in the Morning, 2017 © Niall Naessens


    Saturday, December 16th, 2017
    To mark the centenary of William Orpen’s visit to France as an official war artist the National Gallery of Ireland is exhibiting some of his war works.  Serving with the British Army he recorded the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme, a lifeless wasteland, the result of prolonged trench warfare, mining and heaving bombardment.

    In his 1921 memoir An Onlooker in France the artist wrote of the horror he had experienced. Drawing on this text the exhibition  explores a selection of his aftermath paintings.  The artist Garrett Phelan was commissioned by the National Gallery to produce art in response to Orpen’s experience and has created works in sound and clay acquired directly from the Somme. Aftermath, the War Landscapes of William Orpen, runs until February 11.

    Sir William Orpen – Sketch in a desolate landscape

    Sir William Orpen – Man with a cigarette

    Sir William Orpen – Thiepval II


    Sunday, October 22nd, 2017
    For the Love of Art, the exhibition by Frederick William Burton at the National Gallery of Ireland from October 25 to  January 14, offers an opportunity to look again at the work of this eminent Irish Victorian watercolour artist whose work remains popular today.  Burton’s Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs was voted Ireland’s favourite painting in 2012.
    This show brings together over 70 works by Burton. Born in Wicklow and educated in Dublin he eventually settled in London where he was influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
    The Pre-Raphaelites are represented in this show by artists like John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Maddox Brown. Art by Daniel Maclise and William Mulready is also included..

    The exhibition will look at Burton’s period in Germany, where he spent seven years as a painter in the service of Maximilian II of Bavaria, and his 20 year tenure as third director of the National Gallery in London from 1874. During this time he was responsible for more than 500 acquisitions including favourites such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks, Raphael’s Ansidei Madonna, Anthony van Dyck’s Equestrian Portrait of Charles I, Hans Holbein the Younger’s Ambassadors, Piero della Francesca’s Nativity and Botticelli’s Venus and Mars.

    (See post on for May 24, 2012)

    Frederic William Burton (1816-1900) Faust’s first sight of Marguerite 1857 Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    Frederic William Burton (1816-1900) Dreams, c.1861
    Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund


    Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

    Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting at the newly refurbished National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin until September 17 includes as many as ten works by the artist. This represents almost one third of the surviving oeuvre of Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675).  It is the third highest number of works by the artist ever assembled in the world.

    The National Gallery of Ireland’s Vermeer, Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid, c.1670, which is regarded as one of the artist’s finest works, will be shown alongside other exquisite works including Woman with a Balance, c.1663–4 (National Gallery of Art, Washington); Woman with a Pearl Necklace, 1663-4 (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin); The Astronomer, 1668 (Musée du Louvre, Paris) and The Geographer, 1669 (Städel Museum, Frankfurt-am-Main). Paintings of daily life by contemporaries of Vermeer, including Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu, Pieter de Hooch and Frans van Mieris, will also feature.  The show brings together some 60 paintings from around the world.

    It is organised by the National Gallery of Ireland in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. An illustrated catalogue (published by Yale University Press) will accompany the exhibition.

    Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)
    Woman Writing a Letter with Her Maid, c.1670
    Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) Woman with a Balance, c. 1663–4
    Widener Collection. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington



    Friday, March 17th, 2017

    Margaret Clarke – St. Patrick with a group of figures and an Irish wolfhound. © The Artist’s Estate

    This image of St. Patrick with a group of figures and an Irish Wolfhound by Margaret Clarke RHA (1888-1961) is in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.  The watercolour, gouache, charcoal and graphite on paper work was purchased in 2007.

    Newry born Margaret Clarke (nee Crilley) studied at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art under William Orpen after winning a scholarship in 1905.  After completing her studies she began working as assistant to Orpen and exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1913 until 1953. Most of the work she exhibited was portraits. In 1914 Margaret married her fellow student Harry Clarke.  They had three children.  Margaret became the director of the Harry Clarke Stained Glass Studios following the death of her husband in 1931. Her work is in the National Gallery, the Hugh Lane, the Crawford in Cork, the Ulster Museum, Limerick City Gallery, the National Self Portrait Collection and the Irish College in Rome.

    We wish all our readers a happy St. Patrick’s Day.


    Saturday, February 11th, 2017
    The first of two of this years highly anticipated exhibitions at the National Gallery of Ireland – which amounts to an embarrassment of riches by Caravaggio and Vermeer – opens today in Dublin.   Beyond Caravaggio brings together over 40 works including four by Caravaggio as well as significant works by those artists he influenced. It runs from today until May 14.
    It will be followed in June by a show which will bring together 60 paintings from around the world, including no less than ten by Vermeer. This represents almost a third of his surviving oeuvre. Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry will include work by Gabriel Metsu, Jan Steen, Gerard ter Borch, Pieter de Hooch and Frans van Mieris.  Organised by the National Gallery in conjunction with the Louvre and the National Gallery of Art in Washington it will run from June 17 to September 17.

    Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) Boy bitten by a Lizard, 1594-5 The National Gallery, London © Copyright The National Gallery, London 2017

    Francesco Buoneri (or Boneri) called Cecco del Caravaggio (c.1589–after 1620) A Musician, c.1615 The Wellington Collection, Apsley House (English Heritage)
    Photo: Apsley House, London © Historic England


    Saturday, January 7th, 2017
    Never before seen in Ireland works by Caravaggio will feature at an upcoming exhibition at the National Gallery in Dublin   Beyond Caravaggio, which runs from February 11 to May 14, will feature two works by the artist which have not been seen here before – Boy Bitten by a Lizard from the collection of the National Gallery in London and Boy Peeling Fruit from the Royal Collection in the UK.  The other works by the artist in the show are The Supper at Emmaus from the National Gallery in London and The Taking of Christ from the collection of Ireland’s National Gallery.
    With his dramatic use of light and uncompromising realism Caravaggio is acknowledged as bringing a revolution to painting during the Baroque period. This exhibition features over 40 works which show how he influenced other artists. These include Valentin de Boulogne’s Concert with Three Figures, Georges de La Tour’s Dice Players and Nicolas Regnier’s St. Sebastian being tended by St. Irene.  Many works in this show –  a collaboration between the National Galleries of Ireland, London and Scotland – are on loan from private collections and regional galleries.

    Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) – Boy Peeling Fruit.

    Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) – Boy Bitten by a Lizard.


    Sunday, January 1st, 2017
    JMW Turner (1775-1851) Sunset over Petworth Park, Sussex, c.1828 Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    JMW Turner (1775-1851)
    Sunset over Petworth Park, Sussex, c.1828
    Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    The annual exhibition of works by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) displayed for the month of January at the National Gallery of Ireland gets underway today. For over a century the Gallery has followed the stipulations set out by the art collector Henry Vaughan in a bequest; that 31 watercolours covering the entire career of one of the great masters of British painting were to be exhibited to the public all at one time, free of charge, during the month of January. This is the month when daylight is low and at its least damaging level.

    Inspired by the writings of John Ruskin the collector Henry Vaughan (1809-1899) decided to gift his collection of Turner watercolours to the National Galleries of Ireland, England and Scotland. This year, alongside the much loved Vaughan bequest, the National Gallery of Ireland will display a selection of Turner’s Liber Studiorum prints.  Turner embarked on his most important publishing venture the Liber Studiorum – or drawing book – in 1807.  The series of over 70 prints was conceived as a visual treatise on landscape and art and made his work accessible to a wide audience.  The show runs to January 31.


    Saturday, October 8th, 2016
    Every painting tells a story and Ireland’s history can be seen in pictures at a show opening at the National Gallery in Dublin today.  Creating History:  Stories of Ireland in Art is the gallery’s principal contribution to this Decade of Centenaries.  The 55 paintings on display date from the 17th to the 20th century and depict or were inspired by Irish history from the arrival of St. Patrick to the establishment of the Irish Free State.
    Arranged thematically with sections entitled Testimony, Conflict, Assembly, Allegory and Lamentation, the exhibition features paintings from the permanent collection as well as work on loan from public and private collections in Ireland and overseas.  Some, like William Turner De Lond’s George IV, King of England, entering Dublin, 1821 and Sir John Lavery’s The Ratification of the Irish Treaty in the English House of Lords, 1921, have been unseen in public for many years.  Others, like Jan Wyck’s The Battle of the Boyne and Joseph Patrick Haverty’s, The Monster Meeting at Clifden, c.1844. have undergone extensive restoration specifically for this exhibition.  Yet more, such as Francis Wheatley, Dublin Volunteers on College Green, 1779 and Edwin Hayes, The Emigrant Ship, 1853 will be familiar to regulars at the gallery.  The exhibition, which is accompanied by a book with essays by Mary Jane Boland, Tom Dunne, R.F. Foster, Róisín Kennedy, Ruth Kenny and Emily Mark-FitzGerald and Brendan Rooney, runs until January 15 next.

    The O’Connell Centenary Celebrations, 1875 by Charles Russell (1852–1910) © National Gallery of Irelan

    The O’Connell Centenary Celebrations, 1875 by Charles Russell (1852–1910)
    © National Gallery of Irelan

    The Monster Meeting at Clifden, 1844 by Joseph Patrick Havery (1794-1864)  © National Gallery of Irelan

    The Monster Meeting at Clifden, 1844 by Joseph Patrick Havery (1794-1864) © National Gallery of Irelan