Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Posts Tagged ‘Modernism’


    Monday, April 22nd, 2019

    The Birth of Modernism in Irish Art 1920-1960 is the title of an exhibition running at the State Apartment Galleries in Dublin Castle until August 18.  In his catalogue commentary curator David Britton notes that it took time before the influence of early 20th century advances in art reached these shores.  With the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922 the culturally conservative government and middle class catholics favoured art depicting west of Ireland cottages (Paul Henry), Irish agricultural workers (Sean Keating) or people at leisure as shown by William Conor or James Humbert Craig. The main exponents of Surrealism were Colin Middleton and Nevill Johnson. Mainie Jellett and Evie Hone were the first artists to promote pure Cubism in Ireland, but other Irish artists like May Guinness and Mary Swanzy had studied in Paris before Jellett and Hone’s arrival there. When Jellett first exhibited pure abstract work in 1923  there was a hostile review by the artist/poet George Russell. In 1943 Jellett was instrumental along with le Brocquy, Norah McGuinness, Jack Hanlon and others in organising the first Irish Exhibition of Living Art.  Dublin Castle is one of the leading public sites of the OPW.  Visitor numbers have been rising and reached 440,000 last year. 



    Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
    An exhibition celebrating Irish art and modernism runs at the Ava Gallery at Clandeboye in Northern Ireland from June 16 to September 3.  Comprising 49 paintings and sculptural objects it features work by Jack B.Yeats, William Orpen, Mainie Jellett, Charles Lamb, Colin Middleton, F.E. McWilliam, Evie Hone, John Luke, and Gerard Dillon.

    Gerard Dillon, Tea Break from the exhibition. (Click on image to enlarge)

    William Orpen, Portrait of Dolly Stiles. (click on image to enlarge)

    The show marks the 20th anniversary of the ground-breaking exhibition and book ‘Irish Art & Modernism’ by Dr. B S Kennedy.  This work surveyed the period 1880 until 1950, and was published to accompany an exhibition of the same title held at Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery in 1991.
    The Adam’s exhibition at the Ava Gallery looks to recreate the original show, but largely concentrates on the latter half of the period. It focuses on areas including the Pupils of William Orpen; the Traditionalists, including Keating, McCaig and McKelvey; the Dublin Painters, based on the school established by Paul and Grace Henry; the Ulster Unit, featuring Middleton, O’Neill, Luke, Campbell and Dillon; the White Stag Group and the early Living Art Exhibitions, heralded by Le Brocquy, Jellett and McGuinness.
    David Britton, Director, Adam’s & Ava Gallery, said: “We have gone to great efforts to feature almost every artist that was included in the original 1991 exhibition, and in three cases we were able to source the original paintings – Christopher Campbell’s ‘Self Portrait’ of 1950, Charles Lamb’s ‘Hearing the News’, c. 1920-2, and Nick Nicholl’s ‘Contemplation, 1944’. Furthermore a number of works were recently included in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s (IMMA) ‘The Moderns Exhibition’, including Evie Hone, Paul Henry & Jack B. Yeats. Many of the works we’ve selected weren’t available for exhibition twenty years ago, so we hope this 20th anniversary collection provides further insight to Irish modernism, and perhaps puts the original exhibition into a newer context”.
    Further information is available online at An exhibition catalogue can be downloaded.