Exhibition ‘The Birth of Modernism in Irish Art’ to Open this Weekend Display drawn exclusively from private collections will exhibit in State Apartments Galleries

9 April 19

A new exhibition, ‘The Birth of Irish Modernism in Irish Art’ will open at the State Apartments Galleries in Dublin Castle on Friday April 12th. This unique exhibition, curated by David Britton, is drawn exclusively from private collections with many of the works on display for the first time in over 50 years.

The exhibition explores the development of modernism in Ireland beginning in 1920, a period of political turmoil for the country and ending in the modern Ireland of 1960 and contains 47 works by such artists as Roderic O’ Conor, Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry, Harry Kernoff, Sean Keating, Sir John Lavery, Gerard Dillon, May Guinness and William Scott.

The exhibition contrasts the traditional ‘Irish School of Painting’ of the male dominated Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) favoured by de Valera and the new Irish Government with the European influenced art that was being championed, mainly by women artists such as Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone and Norah McGuinness amongst others, through the Society of Dublin Painters and the Irish Exhibitions of Living Art.

Speaking in advance of the opening, curator David Briton said "This exhibition is an opportunity to see works of art which have not been on public display in decades, including Jack B. Yeats’s We are Leaving Now (1928) will be exhibited in Dublin for the first time in over fifty years. Modernism came late to Ireland and when the influence was felt, it was against the back drop of a period of political turmoil. The evolution of the genre from the 1920’s up to the modern Ireland of the 1960’s, lends itself to the contrast between a conservative, more traditional Ireland and the progressiveness of newly founded nation and offers us an opportunity to challenge some of the ideas we may have held about that period in Irish history."

Mary Heffernan, General Manager of Dublin Castle said "The team at the Office of Public Works are motivated by a desire that each visitor to Dublin Castle has a fantastic experience of their visit, therefore we are delighted that this summer they will encounter rarely seen Irish artworks from private collections on their visit to the State Apartments Galleries. We are very grateful to the numerous Irish collectors who have agreed to loan their works for the duration of this show and in doing so share these important works with visitors to Dublin Castle. We also extremely thankful for David Britton for bringing together the best artworks possible for this exhibition."

The Birth of Irish Modernism will be on display until the 18th of August 2019 at the State Apartments Galleries, Dublin Castle.


For further information, please contact OPW Client Services & Communications Unit at opwcsc@opw.ie

Follow us on Twitter @opwireland

Find us on Facebook @opwireland

EVENT The Birth of Modernism in Irish Art 1920 - 1960
Location   State Apartments, Dublin Castle
Dates   12 April 2019 - 18 August 2019
Times   9.45am – 5.15pm every day
Admission   €3