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    Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

    There is to be a celebration of Jack B. Yeats at the National Gallery of Ireland next year. Jack B. Yeats: Painting & Memory which opens on September 4, 2021, exhibits the work of one of Ireland’s pre-eminent artists drawn from public and private collections in Ireland and abroad. The show will explore the role of memory in Yeats’ life and work. 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 – Pilot Sligo River


    Saturday, September 12th, 2020

    An exhibition of prints by George Wallace has just opened at the National Gallery of Ireland.  Drawn from the collection of 250 etchings, woodcuts, monoprints and drawings presented to the gallery by the Wallace family in 2016 the show marks 100 years since his birth in Dublin. Based in Canada for much of his life George Wallace (1920-2009) became Professor of Fine Art at McMaster University in Ontario. He specialised in printmaking and sculpture.  George Wallace:  Reflections on Life is on view until December 13.

    George Wallace – The Fun Fair at Dun Laoghaire (etching).


    Saturday, July 18th, 2020

    When playwright George Bernard Shaw left one third of his posthumous royalties to the National Gallery no one could have guessed that it would amount to one of the largest ever gifts to the arts in Ireland.  With the production of My Fair Lady based on his play Pygmalion, a Broadway success in 1956 and a popular film in 1964, these royalties hugely increased.  The Gallery received its first Shaw bequest royalties in 1957 of £10,000 and by the end of 1959 over €240,000 had been received.  The first purchases were made in 1959. The Shaw bequest, which ends this year, has enabled the acquisition of masterpieces such as The Terrace, Saint-Tropez by Paul Signac; Landscape with Flight of Stairs by Chaïm Soutine; Venice, Queen of the Adriatic by Domenico Tintoretto; Julie Bonaparte as Queen of Spain by Baron François Gérard; El Sueño by Francisco de Goya; and An Interior with Members of a Family, attributed to Strickland Lowry. Shaw, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, spent many hours in the gallery as a child and called it the place to which he owed:  “much of the only real education I ever got as a boy in Eire.”  A special display entitled Shaw and the Gallery: A Priceless Education  runs at the National Gallery of Ireland to April 4, 2021.

    John Collier (1850-1934) – Portrait of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) © National Gallery of Ireland.


    Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

    The National Gallery of Ireland has announced that entries are now being accepted for the Zurich Portrait Prize and the Zurich Young Portrait Prize. Submissions are invited from across the island of Ireland, and from Irish artists living abroad. The Zurich Young Portrait Prize, now in its second year, is open to young people aged 18 and under and the closing date for entries is July 1.

    The winner will receive a cash prize of €15,000 and commissioned to create a work for the Collection, for which they will be awarded a further €5,000. Two additional awards of €1,500 will be given to highly commended works. Judges are artist Rita Duffy; Dr Philip Cottrell, lecturer and assistant professor at the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, UCD; Aoife Ruane, Director of Highlanes Gallery.

    There are four age categories in the Young Portrait Prize and an overall winner will be chosen from a shortlist of 20 works. Winners will receive a bespoke art box and a cash prize. Judges are Head of Education at The Hunt Museum Maria Cagney; artist Colin Davidson; and illustrator, author and comedian Aoife Dooley.

    Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said, “In these extraordinary times, we hope to bring joy to those staying at home with art. Today we open the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize, offering artists of all ages an opportunity to connect with their own creativity and with the Gallery. It’s wonderful to have the support of Zurich for the coming years: we are confident that culture will remain central to people’s lives, even in challenging times.”

    The Gallery is closed until April 19, but is finding ways for people to engage with their national collection during this time. Follow the Gallery’s TwitterInstagram and Facebook pages as it moves online including with creative activities for children and families to try at home. A ‘Picture of the Day’ is being shared, as well as weekly sessions on Mindfulness and Art. The Gallery can be explored from home, with a series of Virtual Tours – including the iconic Grand Gallery and Shaw Room.


    Friday, February 28th, 2020

    Murillo: The Prodigal Son Restored which opens at the National Gallery of Ireland on February 29, follows a long conservation project. It is 30 years since Murillo’s series of paintings based on the parable of the Prodigal Son has been on display here.

    The Prodigal Son cycle by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo explores sin, repentance and forgiveness across six paintings, staged in seventeenth-century Seville. It is the only intact narrative cycle by Murillo in the world. Donated by the Beit family in 1987, the works have been conserved at the Gallery’s Paintings Conservation Studio in a project led by Muirne Lydon, who remarked: “The conclusions of technical research performed on the paintings during conservation will be highlighted in the exhibition, revealing how the series was created – from canvas to ground layers and pigments – and the transformations that they have gone through over time. This new research adds to the growing body of knowledge of Murillo’s painting technique and materials. By situating the paintings both culturally and technically, the exhibition hopes to demonstrate that it is crucial to understand these masterpieces beyond their surface, thereby allowing our visitors to fully appreciate this exceptionally rich series.”

    Sean Rainbird, Gallery Director said: Murillo’s Prodigal Son cycle is one of the treasures of the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland. We are delighted that this exceptional group of paintings, now gloriously conserved for future generations, will be on view at the Gallery this Spring.” The exhibition continues until August 30.

    Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682)
    The Departure of the Prodigal Son, 1660s Photo © National Gallery of Ireland


    Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

    The annual exhibition of Turner watercolours opens today at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. This year, watercolours by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) will be complemented by the works of a broad range of over 20 artists that were inspired by him. All works in this year’s display, by artists such as William Leech, Evie Hone, Paul Cézanne and John Singer Sargent, are from the Gallery’s collection, with many watercolours having not been seen in years. Some recent acquisitions by the artists Basil Blackshaw and Kyffin Williams will also be included. In 1900, the Gallery received a bequest of 31 watercolours and drawings by Turner from the English collector Henry Vaughan. Vaughan stipulated 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 just one month every year, ensuring that the collection remains in pristine condition. Turner: The Visionary is on display until January 31.

    Below Arvier, looking down the Val d’Aosta towards Mont Emilius, 1836, Artist: Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775-1851, Watercolour on paper.


    Saturday, November 9th, 2019

    This 1841 daguerreotype of Maria Edgeworth by an unknown photographer is part of the first photography display at National Gallery of Ireland until February 2.  The growing photography collection is showcased  with works by Irish and international photographers including Erich Hartmann, Amelia Stein, Nevill Johnson, Eamonn Doyle, Inge Morath and Jane Bown.  Over the past 12 months the Gallery has acquired over 100 photographs by Irish and international photographers, ranging from the 19th century to contemporary practice.

    The collection includes both vintage and modern prints and incorporates daguerreotypes, albumen prints, platinum and silver gelatin prints.  In 2018, the Gallery acquired a rare example of a vintage albumen print, dating back to the 1860s, by one of the fore-runners of early photography, Julia Margaret Cameron. The distinctive work features Mary Ryan, an Irish woman who was taken in by Cameron when she was struggling to support herself in England.  Maria Edgeworth was a prolific Ango-Irish writer whose works include Castle Rackrent.  The daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process and this one is from the collection of The National Gallery.


    Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

    A portrait tracing the emotional connection between a new parent and her baby – Cybil McCaddy with Daughter Lulu by Enda Bowe – has won the National Gallery of Ireland’s Zurich Portrait Prize. Enda Bowe’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Red Hook Gallery, New York. His work is concerned with storytelling and the search for light and beauty in the ordinary. As well as a cash prize of €15,000, the artist will receive a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection. The judges were Mike Fitzpatrick, Fiona Kearney and Mick O’Dea.

    The prizewinning photo by Enda Bowe


    Saturday, August 10th, 2019

    Often referred to as ‘Spain’s Impressionist’, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida is one of Spain’s most popular artists. He is particularly well-regarded for technically accomplished treatment of water and light. The Sorolla exhibition which opens today at the National Gallery of Ireland comprises 52 quintessentially Spanish sun drenched scenes, spanning gardens and landscapes, seascapes, costume and fashion, portraiture, and genre scenes of daily life and culture. Sorolla gained a reputation in the final years of the nineteenth century for painting large-scale works with social subjects, several of which were awarded prizes at international expositions. But the character and atmosphere of the Valencian seaside remained in the artist’s blood.  This first exhibition of Sorolla’s work in Ireland is organised with the National Gallery, London in collaboration with the Museo Sorolla, Madrid. It runs until November 3.

    Sorolla’s Sewing the Sail from 1896.  Copyright Photo Archive – Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.


    Friday, July 26th, 2019

    The centenary of the Bauhaus is being marked at the National Gallery of Ireland with a display of print portfolios. The set of four Bauhaus portfolios, displaying a diverse range of print techniques, is on loan from Germany’s Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.  Dating from the early 1920’s they were produced to promote the work of the Bauhaus internationally and benefit the school financially. Credited as the birthplace of modernism the German art school centred on Weimar, Dessau and Berlin fell foul of the Nazis and eventually closed its doors in 1933.  But the influence of the Bauhaus, which encouraged teachers and students to pursue their crafts together in design studios and workshops, has been pervasive and has impacted on all our lives. Subjects ranged from painting and graphics to architecture and interiors. Bauhaus 100: The Print Portfolios runs until December 1.