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    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. 


    Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

    Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of his birth a landmark exhibition entitled Jack B. Yeats, Painting & Memory opens at the National Gallery of Ireland on September 4. The show of 84 works is drawn from public and private collections in Ireland and abroad and celebrates the work of one of Ireland’s pre-eminent artists. Memories of childhood in Sligo, observations of humanity and his reflections on life and loss feature in many of Yeats’ oil paintings.

    Jack B. Yeats – That We May Never Meet Again, 1954 York Museums Trust / York Art Gallery
    © Estate of Jack B. Yeats, DACS London, IVARO Dublin, 2021

    Meantime the gallery announced today that a new online appreciation course – Yeats: An Artistic Family begins on October 7. Tickets will go on sale on September 1. The eight-week online course with art historian Jessica Fahy explores the artistic production of three generations of the Yeats family. It will take place on Thursday evenings and is suitable for beginners and experts.


    Thursday, July 29th, 2021

    George Wallace: Reflections on Life is on view for the second time at the National Gallery of Ireland. More than 60 artworks drawn from the large collection presented to the Gallery by the Wallace family in 2016 are on display in a show previously closed due to Covid. There are etchings, monotypes, woodcuts and drawings. George Wallace (1920-2009) was born in Dublin but lived in Canada for most of his life. The exhibition continues until August 29.

    George Wallace (1920–2009) Young Woman in a Striped Dress, 1993
    © Estate of George Wallace and CARCC, 2020 Photo © National Gallery of Ireland


    Thursday, July 8th, 2021
    Jack B. Yeats – Bachelor’s Walk, In Memory 

    This work by Jack B. Yeats – Bachelor’s Walk, In Memory – has just become part of the national collection at the National Gallery of Ireland purchased with special support of the Government of Ireland and key contributions from several donors. The painting depicts an incident in Dublin city centre in 1914 in which a detachment of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators. Three people were killed (a fourth later died) and over 35 were injured. Earlier that day soldiers and officers of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and Royal Irish Constabulary had intercepted Volunteers and members of Na Fianna transporting a consignment of rifles and ammunition that had arrived at Howth earlier on board the yacht The Asgard.  The artist did not witness the event but visited the following day and based the painting on a sketch he produced on the spot. He noted ‘a bullet hole in shop window’ and recorded that ‘a few paces further towards O’Connell bridge flower girls had thrown flowers’. The painting was not seen publicly until 1922, when it featured alongside other works by Yeats at the ‘Exposition d’Art Irlandais’ in Paris. It has been on long-term loan to the Gallery for the past twelve years.


    Thursday, June 3rd, 2021
    Master of the Countess of Warwick (active 1567-9)
    Portrait of ‘The Fair Geraldine’ (Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Countess of Lincoln, c1528-1590) Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

    THIS portrait of Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the Irish noblewoman who was Countess of Lincoln, lady in waiting and close friend of Queen Elizabeth I, is part of an exhibition of Elizabethan portraits now on at the National Gallery of Ireland. Born in Maynooth and daughter of the 9th Earl of Kildare she was a member of the Fitzgerald dynasty and known as The Fair Geraldine. Silken Thomas, who was executed for treason, was her half brother. This is the first full exhibition of colourful and engaging Elizabethan portraits in the collection. It features portraits of well-known sixteenth-century historical figures, from politicians to soldiers, royal suitors to adventurers. Portraits include Elizabeth I and her lover Robert Dudley; Sir Walter Ralegh and his wife Lady Ralegh; and the Earl of Ormond. The exhibition runs until October 3.


    Friday, January 1st, 2021

    Because of our lockdown the National Gallery of Ireland is closed until further notice. There is as of now no access to Turner and Place: Landscapes in Light and Detail. If, as seems likely, there will be no reprise of Ireland’s lockdown before January 31 it will be the first time in 120 years that the annual winter exhibition of Turner watercolours will not be open to the public. The 31 Turner watercolours were to have been shown alongside a group of 19 rare topographical drawings by Francis Place, who visited Ireland in 1698. Among them are the earliest known depictions of Drogheda, Dublin, Kilkenny, and Waterford within the national collection. The Gallery had reopened on December 1 after 73 days of closure.

    In 1900, the National Gallery of Ireland received a bequest of 31 watercolours and drawings by Turner from the English collector Henry Vaughan (1809–99). Vaughan stipulated in his will that the watercolours be exhibited every year, free of charge, for the month of January, when the light is at its weakest. Since 1901, the Gallery has displayed the watercolours for the month of January, thereby upholding the conditions of his bequest. January 2021 marked 120 years since the Turner watercolours were first exhibited at the Gallery.

    Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851 – A River in the Campagna, 1794/1797 Watercolour and graphite on off-white wove paper.


    Thursday, December 24th, 2020
    Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606–1669) – Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1647 © National Gallery of Ireland

    This seasonal image by Rembrandt is from the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. It was purchased in 1883. We wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas.


    Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

    A new portrait of celebrated Irish writer Edna O’Brien was unveiled today at the National Gallery of Ireland to mark her 90th birthday. The work is a commission by photographer Mandy O’Neill, winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize 2018. The diptych has become part of the national portrait collection at the gallery. One of Ireland’s most acclaimed writers, Edna O’Brien has written over twenty works of fiction since her debut novel The Country Girls. She has also written numerous short story collections, plays and works of non-fiction. Born and raised in the west of Ireland, she has lived in London for many years.

    Mandy O’Neill won the Zurich Portrait Prize 2018 for her portrait of a Dublin school student entitled Diane, Larkin Community College, 2018. She is currently Artist in Residence at Dublin City University.


    Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

    The first ever exhibition in Ireland of work by Piet Mondrian opens at the National Gallery of Ireland today.  The landmark show features loans from the Kunstsmuseum Den Haag. It ranges from Mondrian’s little known early landscapes to his world renowned abstract works with their black and white grids and primary colours.  There are 40 paintings by Mondrian as well as a selection of works by De Stijl artists Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck, and Gerrit Rietveld. The exhibition continues until February 14. The National Gallery re-opens today after 73 days of closure.  

    Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Grey and Blue, 1921