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    Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

    Alberto Giacometti Annette debout, c. 1954  Bronze  © Succession Alberto Giacometti / ADAGP, Paris, 2022

    Giacometti From Life opens at the National Gallery of Ireland on April 9. This landmark exhibition, the first Giacometti show at our National Gallery, focuses on the close relationships with the friends and family members who modelled for him, like his wife Annette above. It offers a rare opportunity to see more than 50 works by the world renowned master including sculptures, paintings, and drawings. Among them is a 1922 oil on canvas by Alberto of a young Diego, his brother who became a celebrated sculptor/designer. Organised by the National Gallery of Ireland and the Fondation Giacometti it runs until September 4.

    Alberto Giacometti – Diego debout dans le salon à Stampa, 1922  © Succession Alberto Giacometti / ADAGP, Paris, 2022


    Sunday, March 13th, 2022
    Hughie O’Donoghue – The Bethrothed Aoife © Hughie O’ Donoghue
    Photo © Anthony Hobbs

    Original Sins by Hughie O’Donoghue at the National Gallery of Ireland until June 19 addresses memory, history and questions of identity. The series of six large paintings depicts six historical figures drawn from ancient history, modern history, and the contemporary world and paired together. Best known to many as a central figure in Daniel Maclise’s The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, princess Aoife is paired with William the Conqueror. Represented very differently from the way in which she appears in the famous Irish work, the painting will hang alongside the others in this installation under the gaze of Maclise’s monumental masterpiece in the Gallery’s Shaw Room. 

    Dr Brendan Rooney, Head Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland, commented“The Gallery is delighted to be collaborating with Hughie as part of its contribution to the Decade of Centenaries. It is very exciting to see Daniel Maclise’s monumental The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife subjected to the scrutiny of an artist for whom history and memory are so important. The installation of Hughie’s six new paintings in the Shaw Room represents an unprecedented repurposing of the Gallery’s most famous display space, and casts Maclise’s picture, which inspired them, in a new light.”

    The National Gallery marks the conclusion of the Decade of Centenaries with three special displays in 2022. Two exhibitions will open later in the year. Keating’s Allegories of Change (from August 20) centres around Seán Keating’s 1924 painting An Allegory, which addresses the divisive nature of the conflict of the Irish Civil War. Estella Solomons: Still Moments (from September 3) features a number of portraits by Solomons of leading revolutionary and cultural figures of the time. 


    Saturday, March 5th, 2022
    Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) – Cornard Wood near Sudbury, Suffolk 1748 © The National Gallery, London

    No less than 25 landscape drawings  from the Royal Collection recently attributed to Thomas Gainsborough go on display in Ireland for the first time today.  Young Gainsborough:  Rediscovered Landscape Drawings at the National Gallery of Ireland until June 12 features work produced in the late 1740’s when the artist was in his twenties.  Previously believed to be by Sir Edwin Landseer the art historian Lindsay Stainton identified one as a study for Gainsborough’s most celebrated landscape painting Cornard Wood c1748 and they have all been reattributed.  The preparatory work will hang  alongside the newly conserved Cornard Wood on loan from the National Gallery in London. 


    Saturday, January 29th, 2022
    Giovanni Antonio Sogliani – The Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, 1620-1630 – Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    Christ & His Cousin: Renaissance Rediscoveries opens today at the National Gallery of Ireland. The  exhibition showcases eight little-known restored sixteenth-century Italian paintings. For over a decade, the Gallery’s head of conservation Simone Mancini has carefully treated these paintings to reveal quality that was previously unrecognised. Exploring natural portrayals of human behaviour, such as warm and playful moments between the infants and the Madonna, these paintings tell the story of an imaginary encounter between a young Christ and his cousin, a meeting not referenced in the bible. According to the Bible, the two cousins did not meet until later in life, however, their relationship as children was described in later texts which proved incredibly popular and inspired many Italian artists to represent the two infant cousins in their works during the Renaissance period. Tying in with the exhibition, the paintings will be accompanied by four rare volumes drawn from the Gallery’s Library & Archives, some of which were instrumental in defining the development of sixteenth-century art.  The exhibition runs until May 8.


    Saturday, January 1st, 2022
    Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851 Below Arvier, looking down the Val d’Aosta towards Mont Emilius, 1836

    We might as well approach the New Year with hope.  Ireland’s art lovers missed out on the annual Turner exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland in January 2021 because of the pandemic.  In 2022 the much loved Turner watercolours at the gallery go on display for the month of January from today.  A highlight of the yearly cultural calendar the paintings have been shown annually in January since 1901, except for 2021.The 120th exhibition, Turner and Place: Landscapes in Light and Detail scheduled for last year, opens today instead.   With luck and a dose of optimism this might be the harbinger of a more complete cultural year in 2022 with more gallery visits, more in room attendance at auction, more fairs, more opportunities to meet and greet.  Fingers crossed.

    Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851 Lake Lucerne from Fluelen, 1841

    The Turner watercolours on display from today are remarkable and range from highly finished work to atmospheric sketches.In 2022 there is much to look forward to in terms of Turner.  JMW Turner: The Sun is God opens at the Beit Wing in the National Gallery next October. The touring exhibition of works from the collection of The Tate will display more than 80 works in a show that explores his fascination with natural forces and the sun, moon and clouds.  The exhibition, devised by the Turner scholar David Blayney Brown, showcases the artistic innovations of one of the greatest painters of the Romantic period.  It will feature 25 paintings and an array of watercolours.

    Meantime, back to Turner and Place.  The 31 Turner works will be shown alongside a group of 19 rare topographical drawings by Francis Place, who visited Ireland in 1698.Place’s views are the earliest known depictions of Drogheda, Dublin, Kilkenny, and Waterford within the national collection. This collection was purchased almost 50 years ago through the Gallery’s Shaw fund. It is the first time the two collections have been shown together and the first time since 1972 that the Place works will be displayed as a group.The Turners were bequeathed to the gallery by the English collector Henry Vaughan (1809-1899) who stipulated that the delicate watercolours be shown every year in January when natural light is at its weakest.  Subsequent generations of art lovers in Ireland have benefitted incalculably from Mr. Vaughan’s generosity.

    NGI 7516 Dublin from Phoenix Park by Francis Place. (1647-1728)


    Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

    This portrait of a mother practicing healing methods on her son is the winner of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Zurich Portrait Prize. Me Ma Healing Me by Salvatore of Lucan was announced this evening at a virtual ceremony. As well as a prize of €15,000, the artist, who is half Bangladeshi and half Irish, will receive a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection. Salvatore of Lucan (b. 1994) creates large-scale works in an attempt to communicate a sense of the world he inhabits. Exploring home, identity and relationships, he creates expansive domestic scenes where the familiar approaches the magical. This is his third inclusion in the Zurich Portrait Prize. The artist explained:  “My mother practices sound healing and Reiki, and anytime I’m at home and feeling unwell, she offers to practice on me. I am a distant son and can be sceptical about some of the hippy stuff, but when her hands hover above me, I do feel my mother’s love, and am aware that she is trying to heal me. In making the painting I was inspired by the kind of uncanny, suspended feeling one finds in the alchemist paintings of Leonora Carrington.”

    Vanessa Jones and Tom McLean received highly commended prizes to the sum of €1,500 for their respective portraits, Cabbage Baby (self-portrait) and Note to Self. The judges were artist Eamonn Doyle, Róisín Kennedy, art critic and lecturer/assistant professor in the School of Art History & Cultural Policy, UCD and Seán Kissane, Curator at IMMA.

    An exhibition featuring the winning portrait alongside 23 other shortlisted works runs at the National Gallery of Ireland until next April 3 alongside the Zurich Young Portrait Prize exhibition of 20 shortlisted portraits. Both exhibitions will travel to Crawford Art Gallery in Cork in 2022. The overall winner of the Young Portrait Prize was Della Cowper-Gray, who is aged 14.


    Thursday, October 28th, 2021
    Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614)
    The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, 1599
    Collection: National Gallery of Ireland

    Following an eighteen-month conservation and research project generously supported by Bank of America, Lavinia Fontana’s celebrated painting The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon was today unveiled at the National Gallery of Ireland. Part of the Gallery’s permanent collection, it is the largest surviving painting by one of the most renowned woman artists of the Renaissance. Funding for the conservation of this artwork was generously provided through a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.

    Lavinia Fontana was one of the most successful female painters in the history of Western art. The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon is widely recognised as Fontana’s most ambitious painting. On the occasion of the unveiling, the Gallery is delighted to also announce Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker – a large-scale exhibition opening in the Gallery’s Beit Wing in May 2023. Exploring the artist’s extraordinary life through her paintings and drawings, it will be the first monographic exhibition of Fontana’s work in over two decades.

    The conservation treatment of The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon addressed structural issues as well as aesthetic ones. Research into the artist’s materials and techniques revealed fascinating details about the painting and its production. Cracking and instability in the over 400-year-old structure has been arrested so that the painting can be safely displayed and enjoyed for generations to come. After the painstaking removal of layers of dull and yellow varnish, many previously obscured details were uncovered during the conservation treatment. This included an inscription, dated 1599, on the base of an ornamental clock held by one of the figures in the composition. Scientific analysis has identified the pigments Fontana used and given new insights into her workshop practice.


    Sunday, October 3rd, 2021

    Anne Yeats, The Everyday Fantastic has just opened at the National Gallery of Ireland. Anne Yeats, chief designer for the Abbey Theatre, worked in oils and designed for theatre and publication. The daughter of W.B. Yeats, she was raised within the culture of the Irish Gaelic Revival. She moved between traditional and modern worlds, and drew creatively on her observations and her imagination. Anne started working at the Abbey Theatre at 16; founded Graphic Studio, Dublin in 1960; and was a founding member of Aosdána. She managed the Yeats family archive and donated part of it to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1996. Anne Yeats’s own archives and sketchbooks were donated to the Gallery by her brother Michael in 2002.The exhibition highlights creativity, experimentation and process in Yeats’s art practice across a number of decades, demonstrating the importance of artists’ archives and the role they play in an artist’s work – as a location where creativity, experimentation, failure and progress in art practice are documented. The exhibition continues until October 9, 2022.

    Anne Yeats (1919-2001)- Preparatory sketch for mural at The Unicorn Restaurant, Dublin, 1946
    ESB CSIA Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. © Estate of Anne Yeats, DACS London/IVARO Dublin, 2021. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland


    Monday, September 13th, 2021

    Picturing people at the National Gallery of Ireland Print Gallery until December 5 features photography from the nineteenth century to the present day. The exhibition focuses on humanity and the everyday with works by photographers including Dorothea Lange, Father Francis Browne and Inge Morath. 

    Exhibition curator Sarah McAuliffe commented: “As the Gallery’s collection continues to expand, we’re delighted to present over 70 artworks – many newly acquired – to the public in this exhibition. These works celebrate people in Ireland and abroad, from diverse backgrounds, communities and cultures, united by universal experiences. Picturing People offers something for everyone and my hope for those visiting the exhibition is that they will feel a sense of warmth and joy as they move through the exhibition space.”

    Nevill Johnson, Two Women in Hats, 1952-53 © RTÉ Archives


    Sunday, August 22nd, 2021
    Selene and the sleeping Endymion attributed to Francesco Trevisani  UPDATE: THIS MADE 8,500 AT HAMMER

    The lifetime collection of the late Homan Potterton, who in 1980 became the youngest ever director of the National Gallery of Ireland, comes up at James Adam in Dublin on September 7. The online auction will feature Old Master painting, Irish art, engravings, furniture and silver from his homes in Dublin and the Gaillac region in France. Even though his time as director was thwarted by a period of economic austerity in Ireland he is credited with the production of a ground breaking concise catalogue, a definitive catalogue of the Gallery’s Dutch paintings and with the  negotiations for a gift of major paintings from the collection of Alfred and Clementine Beit.

    He was a specialist in Italian painting of the 17th and 18th centuries and the catalogue of 249 lots lists a number of Italian School paintings.  Selene and the Sleeping Endymion attributed to Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746) has an estimate of €10,000-€15,000 while The Choice of Hercules after Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) is estimated at €12,000-€15,000.The top lot of the sale is an Irish 18th century walnut side table c1740 with a flecked black Kilkenny marble top.  The table is listed and illustrated in the Knight of Glin and James Peill’s definitive book on ‘Irish Furniture’, published in 2007. The estimate here is €40,000-€60,000. 

    Irish c1740 side table with black flecked Kilkenny marble top  UPDATE: THIS MADE 34,000 AT HAMMER

    The most expensively estimated painting, at €15,000-€25,000, is a portrait by Leo Whelan of  Guendolen Wilkinson seated in an elegant interior.  Fame decorating Shakespeare’s Tomb, attributed to Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807) is estimated at €8,000-€12,000 and a North Italian School painting of a lady with a table laden fruit is estimated at €8,000-€10,000. Potterton’s collection of Old Master paintings displays his interest in 17th and 18th century European art.  These were purchased from dealers and auction-houses in London and New York in the 1980’s and 90’s. ‘Artemisia at the Mausoleum of her Husband’ attributed to Laurent de la Hyre is estimated at €15,000-€20,000. Artemisia is depicted beside a classical building she had built to house the remains of her late husband Mausolus. The word Mausoleum derives from his name.
    There are five portrait busts in white statuary marble  by Irish artists including one of Lord Nelson by Laurence Gahagan (1756-1815) and one of the actor William Farren by Edward Foley (1814-1874). A collection of watercolours by  Gahagan reflect the fashion in Britain for Napoleonic memorabilia and design, particularly after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. They range in date 1817 to 1831 and depict the Coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, a portrait of him and an attack on his carriage, the equestrian statue of Peter the Great in St Petersburg, a portrait of Alexander Emperor of Russia and a scene of a Donski Cossac leading the Imperial Russian Guard. Each one of the ten watercolours is estimated at €1000-€1500.Among a collection of antique engravings is a series of Kerry views by Jonathan Fisher with an estimate of €5,000-€8,000.  Other Irish artists represented in the collection include Martin Mooney, Henry Robertson Craig, John Coyle, Estella Solomons, Derek Hill, Lilian Lucy Davidson, Tom Ryan, Bea Orpen, Liam Belton, Sir William Orpen and Charles Lamb. The catalogue cover is one of a pair of watercolours by Jeremy Williams of Potterton’s residence at 78 Merrion Square and his love of dining and entertaining is represented in a collection of furniture including two dining tables, blue and white porcelain and Irish bright cut silverware.  Adams say that his  generosity when entertaining is reflected in the fact that his favourite charities will benefit from the proceeds of the auction.