Work of the Week | 19 April 2021

CAG.2369 John Power, George III Asparagus Tongs, c.1800, silver (4oz), L 39 cm. Presented, 2008 (Cooper Penrose Collection).

For the final entry in the current series, this WORK OF THE WEEK is all about Asparagus Season!

If you were well-to-do during the long reign of King George III (1760-1820), then you may have had in your possession some elegant – yet niche – silverware, such as Asparagus Tongs (c.1800). These serving utensils not only reflect wealth and status, but also tell us about the dietary habits of prosperous people some 250 years ago!

In the mid eighteenth century, for instance, an Irish gentleman travelling to Liverpool wrote that he had “a very good supper, consisting of veal cutlets, pigeons, asparagus, lamb and salad, apple-pie and tarts” (Narrative of the journey of an Irish gentleman through England in the year 1752).

Tongs

Measuring 39 centimetres in length and resembling elaborate scissors, these silver tongs weigh 4 ounces and are the work of Dublin silversmith John Power (fl.1792-1819). At their pivot (or joint) they bear two bright-cut engravings: denoting its purpose, on one side is a sheaf of asparagus while, on the other, is a fish which relates to the Penrose family crest.

Family crest

Although their origins were at Loe Pool in Cornwall, the Penroses were Quakers who had established themselves in Cork and become exceptionally wealthy by the second half of the eighteenth century. At that time, Cork and Dublin were home to numerous families of silversmiths, including the Bucks, Gibsons, and Nicholsons. As such, a well-made and elegant Asparagus Tongs was the perfect addition to a fine dining table!

Asparagus Tongs (c.1800) by John Power is displayed in our historic Penrose Rooms (Floor 1) as part of our ongoing GEORGIAN IRELAND exhibition.

Tune in to The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about a work from the collection!

Work of the Week | 12 April 2021

CAG.2978 Jamie Murphy, Life Boats, 2012, linocut print on Zerkell paper (limited edition), 38.4 x 37.8 cm. Purchased, 2014. © the artist.

We’re marking Titanic’s anniversary with this WORK OF THE WEEK!

Life Boats (2012) by Jamie Murphy is a nocturnal image of a very recognisable maritime subject. Monochrome, strongly graphic, and taking a dramatic low viewpoint, this linocut print focuses on lifeboats being lowered from the deck of RMS Titanic as it sinks into the icy North Atlantic.

This is one of a sequence of 40 images in the series Albert, Ernest & the Titanic, which tells the story of Titanic’s on-board printers – Abraham ‘Albert’ Mishellany and Ernest Corben – during the ocean liner’s ill-fated maiden voyage in April 1912.

Having departed its last port of call, Queenstown (Cobh), on 11 April, Titanic was just days from disaster as it crossed the Atlantic Ocean on this day in 1912. It would sink in the early hours of 15 April with the loss of 1,503 lives.

Did you know? Ink used for the label on our portfolio of these prints was made from coal salvaged from the Titanic wreck site.

Artist and designer Jamie Murphy is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD). He operates The Salvage Press and works with creatives from many disciplines – including Dorothy Cross, Brian Maguire, Alice Maher, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Donal Teskey, and Colm Tóibín – producing projects which are mainly of Irish interest.

Life Boats (2012) by Jamie Murphy is featured in STATIO BENE: Art and Ireland’s Maritime Haven until 23 May. Explore the exhibition online here: https://crawfordartgallery.ie/statio-bene-art-and-irelands-maritime-haven/

Tune in to The Arts House on Cork's 96fm and C103 Cork every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about a work from the collection!

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 52 JAMIE MURPHY - LIFE BOATS

Work of the Week | 5 April 2021

CAG.1933 Samuel Forde, Fall of the Rebel Angels, 1828, oil on canvas, 295 x 235 cm. Presented, William Edward Gumbleton, 1911.

We’re celebrating the anniversary of a Cork great with this WORK OF THE WEEK!

Fall of the Rebel Angels (1828) by Samuel Forde, who was born in Cork city on this day in 1805, is one of the most important works in the collection. Painted when the artist was aged just 23, it represents the pinnacle of a brief yet promising career and was recognised as a masterpiece in its own day.

Measuring almost three metres in height, this monumental canvas dynamically blends two opposing styles – Neoclassicism and Romanticism – to describe the climax to the War in Heaven. The rational order of God’s abode in the top right corner resembles a Classical ideal, while the tangled mass of bodies at the centre reflects subjectivity and the chaos of Hell. Defiantly leading the cast-out legions of fallen angels with is Satan (or Lucifer), his tousled, curly hair suggesting a perhaps relatable Byronic hero.

Samuel Forde (1805-1828) was already suffering from Tuberculosis when he began this painting. Over the ensuing months, and increasingly weak, he worked by candlelight well into the night. On his final birthday, this day in 1828, he found himself without money. He subsequently sold the canvas to William Edward Penrose for 30 guineas but would ultimately leave it unfinished at the end of his short life.

Fall of the Rebel Angels (1828) by Samuel Forde was later owned by horticulturist William Edward Gumbleton and has been in the collection for 110 years. It is currently displayed in our Sculpture Galleries.

The fully illustrated catalogue Samuel Forde: Visions of Tragedy (2014) is available for €7 (+ P&P) from our online shop here.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 51 SAMUEL FORDE - FALL OF THE REBEL ANGELS

Work of the Week | 29 March 2021

CAG.2649 Evie Hone, Head of Christ, n.d., watercolour on paper, 25 x 36 cm. Presented, 2010. © the artist’s estate.

As Easter approaches, we’re running with a theme for this WORK OF THE WEEK.

Head of Christ by Evie Hone is an undated watercolour that depicts the Passion of Jesus. Using a limited palette of red, blue, and black, the artist composes an image of her subject that is downcast. Gaunt, lips parted, and crowned with thorns, we are confronted with a moment of suffering between the Flagellation and Crucifixion. The bold outlines Hone employs echo her interest in the “rugged, emotional, representational style” of French artist Georges Rouault (1871-1958).

Evie Hone (1894-1955) was deeply spiritual and, in 1925, even journeyed to Truro in Cornwall to join a community of Anglican nuns. Although she stayed there for almost year, Diarmaid Ferriter has noted that Hone ultimately found she had no vocation. At the time, she expressed to her friend, and fellow artist, Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) that “I feel quite at peace now about it and as certain as one can be of anything.” Her faith nonetheless remained an important subject in her work and in 1937 she converted to Catholicism.

Earlier in the 1930s, Hone had turned increasingly away from her earlier abstraction towards stained glass. Having joined An Túr Gloine in 1933, she opened her own studio a decade later in the courtyard of Marlay House at Rathfarnham on the outskirts of Dublin. In 1952, she completed her 83-square-metre stained-glass East Window (depicting the Last Supper and Crucifixion) for the chapel at Eton College, Windsor.

Head of Christ by Evie Hone is displayed in our Harry Clarke Room (Floor 2).

Tune in to The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK!

Work of the Week | 22 March 2021

CAG.2436 Séamus Murphy, Terence MacSwiney, 1963, plaster, H 69 cm. Presented, Séamus Murphy Family, 2006. © the artist’s estate.

This WORK OF THE WEEK celebrates Terence MacSwiney, the anniversary of whose birth is this Sunday 28 March!

Terence MacSwiney (1963) by Séamus Murphy is, as its date suggests, a posthumous portrait of the Lord Mayor of Cork who died after 74 days of hunger strike in 1920.

The portrait was made by Séamus Murphy (1907-1975) as a model for one of two bronze busts commissioned in 1963 for Cork City Hall. The model for the other, which depicts Tomás Mac Curtain – who was himself assassinated on 20 March 1920 (his 36th birthday) – is displayed in Cork Public Museum.

The Cork-born sculptor depicts MacSwiney not in his robes of office, customary suit, or Irish Volunteers’ uniform. Instead, his shoulders are bare, and he is presented more as a Classical hero than a contemporary Irishman. This lends the portrait a timeless quality and suggests that the artist believed MacSwiney would be long remembered for his deeds, thoughts, and writings.

On its publication a century ago this year, MacSwiney’s collection of political writings, Principles of Freedom (1921), was to become hugely influential. Subsequently translated into multiple languages, particularly in India where it is thought to have influenced the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Bhagat Singh, to name but a few.

This international legacy is explored until 5 April in CITIZEN NOWHERE | CITIZEN SOMEWHERE: The Imagined Nation, which features Terence MacSwiney (1963) by Séamus Murphy. Explore the exhibition online here.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 50 SEAMUS MURPHY - TERENCE MACSWINEY

Work of the Week | 15 March 2021

CAG.1813 Ian Healy, Idyllic, 1997, oil on board, 122 x 122 cm. Purchased, 1998. © the artist.

Idyllic (1997) by Ian Healy juxtaposes colour with recognisable form. The lower half of the painting is a blue wave-like wash that engulfs a rock-like shape, while the upper half is cloud-like in warm ochre.

As viewers, we may understand it solely for the feelings of happiness or peace that it conjures and captures. First displayed as part of the artist’s solo exhibition here in 1997, it has a pleasurable looseness or fluidity and is, in essence, a non-narrative hybrid of abstract and figurative landscape.

Ian Healy (b.1970) is a graduate of Crawford College of Art & Design (now MTU CCAD) and has had residencies in Lithuania and Catalunya. Over the past decade, he has exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh), Mall Galleries (London), and Galerie Youn (Montreal). Increasingly figurative, his recent work has developed to embrace new subject matters, from heads to images of domestic buildings, but retains a focus on colour, form, and the abstract.

Idyllic (1997) by Ian Healy is featured in lucid abnormalities (Gibson Galleries) until 28 March.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 49 IAN HEALY - IDYLLIC

Work of the Week | 8 March 2021

CAG.506 Joan Miró, Figure Walking, n.d., lithograph (4/75), 76 x 56 cm. Purchased, 1982. © the artist's estate.

Figure Walking by Joan Miró is a colourful lithograph with bold graphic elements, which probably dates to the 1960s or 70s.

As the title suggests, this abstract form depicts a figure in motion who appears to wear a ‘barretina’, much like the artist’s stylistically quite different Head of a Catalan Peasant (1925) in the Tate collection. This traditional cap was regarded as symbolic, particularly during the Spanish government’s suppression of Catalan nationalism and language in the twentieth century.

In December 1920, two months after the death of Terence MacSwiney, Raimon Negre i Ballet published Irlanda, el Batlle de Cork i Catalunya. The book considers Ireland’s campaign for freedom as a mirror image of Catalonia’s quest to become an independent sovereign state. In March 2016, MacSwiney was honoured by the Catalan National Assembly.

Born in Barcelona, Joan Miró (1893-1983) is often associated with Dada and Surrealism – although he was never a member of such movements – and experimented with automatic drawing. From the 1920s, he began developing his own pictorial language and became interested in representing Catalan identity, particularly through the peasant figure.

In 1937, the artist painted the 5.5-metre-high mural El Segador (The Reaper) for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition. Alternately titled Catalan Peasant in Revolt, it is said to have been inspired by what is now the Catalan national anthem. However, it was to be overshadowed at the pavilion by Pablo Picasso’s incendiary anti-war statement, Guernica.

Figure Walking by Joan Miró is featured in CITIZEN NOWHERE | CITIZEN SOMEWHERE: The Imagined Nation until 5 April.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 48 JOAN MIRO - FIGURE WALKING

Work of the Week | 1 March 2021

CAG.60 Margaret Clarke, The Foundling, c.1925, oil on board, 37.5 x 30 cm. Bequeathed, Dr Lennox Robinson, 1959. © the artist’s estate.

The Foundling (c.1925) by Margaret Clarke is an intriguing painting that perhaps prompts more questions than it does answers, not least in terms of representation. Depicting a white woman cradling a black baby, it is likely a study for the artist’s Bath Time at the Crèche.

The larger subject painting (127 x 101 cm), which is in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland, offers us further clues to this unusual subject matter – at least, unusual for 1920s Ireland – and includes eleven other children being readied for their bath by two women. The model for both women can be identified as the Clarke family’s maid, Julia O’Brien, who appears in numerous other works by the artist.

But what is the relationship between central woman and child as proposed by these two paintings, and what does it tell (or ask) the viewer about gender and ethnicity in post-Independence Ireland?

The child is both compositionally and symbolically central, as art historian Fionna Barber suggests, with both paintings raising important questions about whiteness and blackness in art and national identity formation. “In its radical positioning of both race and femininity,” Barber notes, the larger painting “opens up troubling questions about our understanding of this period of Irish history that have yet to be fully addressed, but whose significance can still be felt today.”

Painted at a time when Margaret Clarke (1888-1961) had young children of her own, The Foundling was later bequeathed to us by the artist’s friend, playwright Lennox Robinson (1886-1958). It is featured in lucid abnormalities (Gibson Galleries) until 28 March.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 47 MARGARET CLARKE - THE FOUNDLING

Work of the Week | 22 February 2021

CAG.2213 Joseph Panzetta, Bust of James Barry, 1818, Coade stone, 52 x 28 x 23 cm. Presented, Friends of Crawford Art Gallery, 2005.

It’s artist James Barry’s 215th anniversary, so we’ve dedicated this WORK OF THE WEEK to him!

The remarkable career of ‘great historical painter’ James Barry (1741-1806) took him from his native Cork to Dublin, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, and finally London. His life in the British capital saw him become not only a member of the Royal Academy of Arts but also its professor of painting. In 1799, however, his outspoken views gained him the distinction of being the only academician to ever be expelled… until 2004, that is!

James Barry died in London on this day in 1806 and, on 4 March, he was interred next to his great rival, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), in the crypt at St Paul’s Cathedral. A memorial was later erected there, featuring one of four busts of Barry modelled by Joseph Panzetta (fl.1789-1830) but based on a portrait by William Evans. Another of these busts has been in our collection since 2005.

Joseph Panzetta, Bust of James Barry (angled view)

Neoclassical in style, Bust of James Barry (1818) offers a frank likeness of its subject, with natural hair (rather than wig) and a simple draped garment. Interestingly, it is made in Coade stone, the hugely successful artificial stoneware pioneered in the late eighteenth century by Eleanor Coade (1733-1821), whose bicentenary occurs later this year.

'Coade London 1818', detail from Bust of James Barry.

Neoclassical in style, Bust of James Barry (1818) offers a frank likeness of its subject, with natural hair (rather than wig) and a simple draped garment. Interestingly, it is made in Coade stone, the hugely successful artificial stoneware pioneered in the late eighteenth century by Eleanor Coade (1733-1821), whose bicentenary occurs later this year.

Bust of James Barry (1818) is displayed in our Penrose Rooms (Floor 1) near works by Barry’s teacher John Butts and contemporary Nathaniel Grogan.

Order the book James Barry (1741-1806): ‘The Great Historical Painter now and get free delivery in Ireland or 50% off international delivery! Shop online here: https://crawfordartgallery.ie/gallery-shop/

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 46 JOSEPH PANZETTA - BUST OF JAMES BARRY

Work of the Week | 15 February 2021

CAG.128 Sean Scully, East Coast Light 1, 1973, acrylic on canvas, 75.7 x 63.6 cm. © the artist.

East Coast Light 1 (1973) by Sean Scully is an example of hard-edge painting, which is characterised by sharp transitions between colours achieved using tape and spray paint. Consisting of a grid of layered bands, this work blends aspects of the artist’s background in graphic design and construction with the influence of Moroccan textiles and the impact of a fellowship to Harvard University in 1972.

First exhibited at the Dixième Biennale Internationale d'Art, Menton (1974), this abstract painting may be seen to anticipate Scully’s subsequent use of a characteristic stripe motif. For the artist, the stripe “is always concerned with thinking, and it is concerned with acting free of context … it is always reaching outwards,” as he observed to Allie Biswas in 2016. “The stripe can do anything in any direction, and since it is so common, it corresponds to everything around us.”

In 1980, this work was featured in Rosc Chorcaí ’80: Irish Art 1943–1973. Its curator, Cyril Barrett, wrote that the “exhibition covers a period which some people might describe as the great awakening of modern Irish Art and others as the great betrayal.” Presented at Crawford Art Gallery, the exhibition later travelled to the Ulster Museum, Belfast.

Born in Dublin in 1945, Sean Scully is a contemporary artist with a major international reputation. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Aosdána, and visitors may remember the major retrospective exhibition here, Sean Scully: Figure / Abstract (2015).

Sean Scully pictured at Crawford Art Gallery for the opening of Figure / Abstract in 2015. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney / Provision.
Sean Scully pictured at Crawford Art Gallery for the opening of Figure / Abstract in 2015. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney / Provision.

East Coast Light 1 (1973) by Sean Scully is presently displayed in our Upper Gallery (Floor 1).

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 45 SEAN SCULLY - EAST COAST LIGHT 1

Work of the Week | 8 February 2021

CAG.35 John Lavery, The Widow (Mrs. Terence MacSwiney, Lady Mayoress of Cork 1920), 1921, oil on canvas, 75.7 x 63.6 cm. Presented, the Artist, 1928.

The Widow (Mrs. Terence MacSwiney, Lady Mayoress of Cork 1920) by John Lavery is a remarkably stark portrait. Only the face and neck of its subject emerge from the background and dark clothing. Her parted red lips, brimming eyes, and flesh described in light and shadow convey dual emotions – mourning and hope.

By the time this portrait was painted a century ago, in 1921, Muriel Murphy MacSwiney (1892-1982) had been catapulted onto the world stage in the aftermath of her husband’s death by hunger strike. In that same year, she attended the Abbey Theatre’s production of Terence MacSwiney’s most prophetic play, The Revolutionist. Such was the sympathy for her loss and Ireland’s independence that, in 1922, she became the first woman to be granted the freedom of New York City.

Muriel had first met Terence in 1915 at the home of Aloys and Tilly Fleischmann. They married against her family’s wishes on 9 June 1917, the day after she came into her inheritance, and their daughter Máire was born a year later. In her widowhood, Muriel continued her interest in left-wing politics and, in 1926, had a second daughter, Alix, with the French Marxist academic Pierre Kaan (1903-1945).

In 1928, this portrait was donated by the artist along with his Sketch for the Funeral of Terence MacSwiney (1920).

The Widow (Mrs. Terence MacSwiney, Lady Mayoress of Cork 1920) by John Lavery is featured in CITIZEN NOWHERE | CITIZEN SOMEWHERE: The Imagined Nation until 5 April.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 44 JOHN LAVERY THE WIDOW

Work of the Week | 1 February 2021

CAG.136 Sylvia Cooke-Collis, Festival Scene, c.1960, oil on canvas, 141 x 106 cm. Presented, Friends of the National Collections of Ireland (Sylvia Cooke-Collis Bequest). © the artist’s estate.

To mark Imbolc or St Brigid’s Day, we’re embracing a sense of joy and renewal with this WORK OF THE WEEK!

The first day of February is the traditional beginning of spring in Ireland and finds us halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Festival Scene (c.1960) by Sylvia Cooke-Collis may not specifically be about this new season, but we think its palette of soft bright colours and upbeat mood suits this time of year.

Inspired by the style of Fauvism, Sylvia Cooke-Collis (1900-1973) composes a scene filled with people – and goats! Many of the figures wear wreaths of foliage on their heads, while in the background some form of ritual appears to play out under the trees. A figure in the foreground offers red flowers to a goat. A tasty treat perhaps?

In 2018, Festival Scene underwent its own renewal and benefitted from much needed conservation. As part of a shared NGI-CAG-IMMA conservation internship, it was transported to the National Gallery of Ireland for treatment by Giulia Campagnari.

136-P - 04 - Surface cleaning

The painting had become distorted over time and its paint layer was beginning to flake. Giulia conducted a full consolidation treatment with specialist solutions and equipment. Festival Scene was then re-stretched, cleaned, filled, and retouched where losses had occurred. Its original frame even got some love before the painting returned to Cork to be cherished once again. Certainly cause to celebrate!

Festival Scene (c.1960) by Sylvia Cooke-Collis is featured in lucid abnormalities, which runs until 28 March.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 43 SYLVIA COOKE - COLLIS FESTIVAL SCENE

Work of the Week | 25 January 2021

CAG.2156 Cecily Brennan, Woman with Koebnersing Psoriasis, 2003, egg tempera on gesso, 25.5 x 30.75 cm. Purchased, 2004. © the artist.

Small in scale, Woman with Koebnersing Psoriasis (2003) by Cecily Brennan is a deceptively simple, yet intimate work. The artist employs egg tempera to describe a truncated torso form as dozens of dark irregular blotches, identified by the title, appear across its pink flesh.

Koebnersing psoriasis is a condition that occurs at sites of cutaneous (or skin) injury, with new skin lesions appearing on otherwise healthy skin. This painting forms part of a body of work that Brennan made in 2002-03 and exhibited as part of Heat (2005).

Exploring how the human body registers stress, these works are characterised by close-up images of eczema, psoriasis, and self-harm. In presenting such conditions in this way, the artist forces us to confront something from which we might otherwise shy away. Informed by pain and painted with care, they prompt feelings of empathy.

A native of Athenry, Cecily Brennan (b.1955) has exhibited her work widely, both nationally and internationally. ‘Damage and fortitude are her abiding concerns,’ offers Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, ‘and the perennial search for those strategies of survival that allow ordinary human beings to endure and overcome the various afflictions by which they are beset.’

In addition to her career as an artist, Brennan has been Director of Project Arts Centre (1983-86), Chair of the Visual Arts Committee (1993-97), and co-founder of the Artists' Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment (2015-18). She lives and works in Dublin.

Woman with Koebnersing Psoriasis (2003) by Cecily Brennan is featured in lucid abnormalities, which runs in our Gibson Galleries (Floor 1) until March.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 42 CECILY BRENNAN WOMAN WITH KOEBNERSING PSORIASIS

Work of the Week | 18 January 2021

CAG.490 Jim Buckley, Porthole II, 1981, steel, 34 x 33 x 35.5 cm. Purchased, 1981. © the artist.

This WORK OF THE WEEK turns scrap into art!

Porthole II (1981) by Jim Buckley adopts basic formal shapes, as circular pieces of steel are placed at angles to one another, while other tubular forms support or pierce them.

The artist selected the pieces of scrap metal for their ex-industrial aesthetic and sense of mass. The title itself was suggested by its finished form as it recalls a ship’s porthole. At the time, Buckley's work was evolving quickly as he moved away from the vertical (figurative) towards horizontality (landscape form). Porthole II was first exhibited in a joint exhibition with Buckley’s teacher, John Burke (1946-2006), at the Cork Arts Society, Lavitt’s Quay.

Jim Buckley, Porthole II (detail), 1981, steel, 34 x 33 x 35.5 cm. Purchased, 1981. © the artist_

Jim Buckley (b.1957) studied photography and sculpture at the Crawford School of Art (now MTU CCAD), 1975-80, and was among the first students to relocate to the Sharman Crawford Street premises. In 1985, his large-scale sculpture Saurian was commissioned for the 'Cork 800' celebrations and is sited in Cork’s Lee Fields.

In more recent years, Buckley has increasingly focused on light in all its forms, ranging from photography and projection to fibre optics. In 2000, hewas commissioned by National Sculpture Factory and Triskel Arts Centre to create Fall, a site-specific projection at R&H Hall, Kennedy Quay. The artist lives and works in Scotland.

Porthole II (1981) by Jim Buckley is featured in STATIO BENE: Art and Ireland’s Maritime Haven, which runs in The Long Room (Floor 1) until April.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 41 JIM BUCKLEY PORTHOLE II

Work of the Week | 11 January 2021

CAG.835 Louis le Brocquy, Image of Samuel Beckett, 1994, oil on canvas, 92 x 78 cm. Purchased, the Artist, 1994. © the artist’s estate.

‘When you are painting you are trying to discover, to uncover, to reveal. I sometimes think of the activity of painting as a kind of archaeology - an archaeology of the spirit.’ — Louis le Brocquy, “Notes on painting and awareness” (1979)

For this WORK OF THE WEEK, let us sift through Image of Samuel Beckett (1994) by Louis le Brocquy.

From the middle of this stark canvas a ghostly head emerges. Sparse hints of blue, red, brown, and green emerge from a deeply lined face and represent the only colours in this field of white. Suggestions of swept back short hair, thin lips, and blank eyes form the main features of the subject’s long, narrow face, which seems to dissolve at the edges.

This is one of the artist’s celebrated Portrait Heads and depicts his friend, the Irish writer and Nobel Laureate, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989). Rather than presenting the viewer with a photo-realistic likeness, le Brocquy instead attempts to reveal the inner spirit of his subject. This, by his own admission, is not an act of creation, but one of discovery as he evokes Beckett’s essence.

Speaking with George Morgan in 1992, Louis le Brocquy (1916-2012) noted that ‘Clearly, it is not possible to paint the spirit. You cannot paint consciousness. You start with the knowledge we all have that the most significant human reality lies beneath material appearance. So, in order to recognise this, to touch this as a painter, I try to paint the head image from the inside out.’

Image of Samuel Beckett (1994) by Louis le Brocquy is displayed on our Gibson Landing (Floor 1).

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 40 SAMUEL BECKETT LOUIS LE BROCQUY

Work of the Week | 4 January 2021

CAG.2343 Elizabeth Magill, Blue Constrictor, 2006, oil on canvas, 153 x 183 cm. Purchased, 2008. © the artist.

It’s our first WORK OF THE WEEK for 2021!

A painting that exists somewhere between the abstract and figurative, Blue Constrictor (2006) by Elizabeth Magill offers the viewer an image of unending contemplation.

The dark silhouettes of both deciduous and evergreen trees rise across this large canvas. Streaks and glimmers of yellow, red, and blue dart among their wintry forms against a softer wash of twilight. The artist’s use of primary colours, however, implies that we are being presented with something constructed, while the uncertain viewpoint and atmosphere suggest the sense of being ‘in between’. Forms on the left even appear as spectres or echoes and tiny mixed media elements figure in the upper branches.

Does the title, Blue Constrictor, allude to a contracting muscle or a large species of snake? Does the perspective have a dizzying effect or make us uneasy? Is it a landscape?

Elizabeth Magill (b.1959) explores the relationship between the Picturesque and Romantic traditions in art. Born in Ontario, Canada, she grew up in County Antrim and now lives and works in London. She studied firstly at the Belfast School of Art and later at the Slade School of Art. Magill has exhibited widely, including at Arnolfini, Limerick City Gallery of Art, IMMA, Hugh Lane Gallery, Tate, and in 0044: Contemporary Irish Art in Britain (1999) at PS1, New York.

Blue Constrictor (2006) by Elizabeth Magill is featured in lucid abnormalities (until March 2021) in our Gibson Galleries (Floor 1).

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 39 ELIZABETH MAGILL BLUE CONSTRICTOR

Work of the Week | 28 December 2020

CAG.668 John Hogan, The Drunken Faun, 1826, plaster original, 98 x 155 x 70 cm. Presented, William Horatio Crawford, Esq.

For the final WORK OF THE WEEK of 2020, we’re sharing an image of celebration!

The Drunken Faun (1826) by John Hogan depicts a mythological figure in the midst of a Bacchanal, an ancient festival to the wine god. Falling backwards in intoxication, the faun is surrounded by attributes including pan pipes, cymbals, and wine jug, while a goat skin covers his modesty and serves as a reminder of his species.  

Intriguingly, this plaster Neoclassical sculpture was the product of a challenge set by Welsh sculptor John Gibson (1790-1866). Ever one to rise to the occasion, Hogan countered painter Vincenzo Camuccini’s claim that all original poses in sculpture had been exhausted with this dynamic triangular composition. The faun’s left arm supports the weight of his entire upper body, as his right leg is outstretched, and vine leaf-entwined head falls back.

2. John Hogan, The Drunken Faun, 1826, plaster original, 98 x 155 x 70 cm. Presented, William Horatio Crawford, Esq_

Although he may have been inspired by the ancient Barberini Faun or Johan Tobias Segrel’s faun of 1771, Hogan succeeded in his task and firmly proved both Gibson and Camuccini wrong. The finished work even prompted Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) to declare it ‘a miracle of Art.’

The Drunken Faun was exhibited at the Royal Irish Institution in 1829, and subsequently in The Great Exhibition (1851) at the Crystal Palace in London’s Hyde Park. It has been in the Crawford Art Gallery collection for over 130 years.

The Drunken Faun by John Hogan (1800-1858) is featured in RECASTING CANOVA in our Sculpture Galleries.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 38 JOHN HOGAN THE DRUNKEN FAUN

Work of the Week | 21 December 2020

CAG.773 George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson, Paddle Steamer Entering the Port of Cork, 1842, oil on canvas, 61 x 100 cm. Purchased, 1987.

WORK OF THE WEEK… it’s a kind of homecoming, like!

Sun sets over a maritime city, as river waters ripple in the wake of a seagoing vessel. Like the tide itself, Paddle Steamer Entering the Port of Cork (1842) is all about comings and goings.

Approaching Cork by water was once much more commonplace than today and it was a sight that artist George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson (1806-1884) knew well. A native of Cobh, he grew up in Cork Harbour and spent his early career at sea as a ship’s carpenter. Upon his return, he became Government Surveyor of Shipping and Emigrants, as well as a self-taught painter.

In this warm and welcoming painting, the artist depicts a paddle steamer making its way upriver to the Port of Cork. The historic Bonded Warehouses may be picked out at the centre of the scene, while dozens of masts break the skyline on both channels of the river, emphasising the importance of the harbour to the city’s commerce, prosperity, and identity.

Flanking the river on either side, the church steeples of St Anne’s, Shandon and St Patrick’s (right) and old St Fin Barre’s Cathedral and city hall (left) can be readily identified. The fine offices of the St George Steam Packet Company (Penrose House) can also be glimpsed between moored vessels at Penrose Quay (centre right).

Wherever you may be this festive season, we wish you all safe harbour, fair winds and following seas.

Paddle Steamer Entering the Port of Cork (1842) is featured in STATIO BENE: Art and Ireland’s Maritime Haven until April 2021.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 37 GEORGE M.W. ATKINSON PADDLE STEAMER ENTERING THE PORT OF CORK

Work of the Week | 14 December 2020

CAG.88 Harry Clarke, Soon, up Aloft, the Silver, Snarling Trumpets 'gan to Chide, c.1923, pencil, watercolour and gouache on paper, 12 x 24 cm. Purchased, 1924 (Gibson Bequest Fund).

Strike up the band! This WORK OF THE WEEK is a real winter warmer.

Soon, up Aloft, the Silver, Snarling Trumpets 'gan to Chide (c.1923) by Harry Clarke gives us the best seat in the house, as we are placed front and centre before the artist’s strange septet or musical ensemble.

This watercolour study is dominated by the dramatic figure of the conductor of this not-quite orchestra. Rather than remaining faithful to his poetic source – “The Eve of St Agnes” (1819) by John Keats, in which angelic decorations are described ‘with hair blown back’ – Clarke has instead incorporated the image into the conductor’s appearance.

Occupying a gallery space, the musical ensemble contributes to the Eve of St Agnes festivities, which are detailed in an associated watercolour study. Each figure has its own personality sketched out and evoked by the artist.

Nicola Gordon-Bowe (1948-2018), the late great Clarke scholar, has suggested a source for the theorbo (long-necked lute) or sitar-playing figure to the right of the conductor: his balding head and pointed ears resemble the vampiric Count Orlok from F.W. Murnau’s contemporaneous silent film Nosferatu (1922)!

Harry Clarke (1889-1931), one or Ireland’s most renowned illustrators and stained-glass artists, loved literature and music. At the time of making this watercolour study in 1923, he attended a Franz Liszt recital given by Tilly Fleischmann at the Abbey Theatre.

Find out this and more in our new online exhibition HARRY CLARKE MARGINALIA, which runs until 14 February 2021.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 36 HARRY CLARKE, SOON UP ALOFT..

Work of the Week | 7 December 2020

CAG.2803 Grace Henry, Claddagh Market, Galway, 1916-18, oil on panel, 40 x 32 cm. Presented to the State, 2012 (AIB Art Collection). © the artist’s estate.

We’re off to the market with this WORK OF THE WEEK!

Traditionally, tomorrow (8 December) marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping calendar in Ireland. Known as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, in years past the day saw rural shoppers visiting large towns and cities.

Although not essentially a Christmas scene, Claddagh Market, Galway (1916-18) by Grace Henry captures the hustle and bustle of open-air shopping in the West of Ireland. The rounded forms of women in patterned shawls contrast with the geometric shapes of the market stalls, as thatched cottages of The Claddagh can be seen in the background.

The Claddagh, a fishing village across the river from Spanish Arch and Galway city, is perhaps best known today for the ring – with hands, heart, and crown – that takes its name.

Scottish artist Grace Henry (1868-1953) painted Claddagh Market, Galway during the decade she spent living on Achill Island with then husband, and fellow artist, Paul Henry (1876-1958). Post-Impressionist in style, this relatively small painting modulates strong brushwork with earth tones and sparing use of bold colour.

Emily Grace Mitchell (Henry) hailed from a coastal town north of Aberdeen, but was to study at the Académie Delécluse in Paris. In 1920, she was a founding member of the Society of Dublin Painters with Letitia Marion Hamilton, Paul Henry, Mary Swanzy, and Jack B. Yeats.

Claddagh Market, Galway (1916-18) by Grace Henry is featured in lucid abnormalities (until March 2021) in our Gibson Galleries (Floor 1). Open daily and admission is free.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 35 GRACE HENRY CLADDAGH MARKET GALWAY

Work of the Week | 30 November 2020

CAG.2228 Francis Bindon, Portrait of Jonathan Swift, c.1735, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 63.5 cm. Purchased, 2006.

‘I’m as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth.’

For this WORK OF THE WEEK we’re marking the anniversary of one of Ireland’s most celebrated writers, Jonathan Swift, who was born in Dublin on this day in 1667!

In a diary entry from June 1735, and then in his late sixties, Swift mockingly wrote that ‘I have been fool enough to sit for my Picture at full length by Mr. Bindon.’ In fact, the artist was a friend of Swift and made several portraits of the satirist and author of Drapier’s Letters (1724), Gulliver’s Travels (1726), and A Modest Proposal (1729).

Dating to c.1735, Portrait of Jonathan Swift by Francis Bindon shows its subject less formally than in other portraits. Depicted without his customary wig, for instance, Swift (1667-1745) seems to display the melancholy he felt during this time. He kept this likeness close to him in the deanery of St Patrick’s Cathedral and later bequeathed it to his housekeeper, Mrs Ridgeway. He would also go on to endow what is now St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

A native of County Clare, artist and architect Francis Bindon (c.1690-1765) was independently wealthy and travelled to Italy with his cousin, Samuel Burton, in 1716. He subsequently trained under court painter Sir Godfrey Kneller and was described by Swift as ‘the greatest painter and architect of his time in these kingdoms.’ In later life, he became MP for Ennis and a Freeman of the City of Limerick.

Portrait of Jonathan Swift (c.1735) by Francis Bindon is displayed in our historic Penrose Rooms (Floor 1).

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 34 PORTRAIT OF JONATHON SWIFT FRANCIS BINDON

Work of the Week | 24 November 2020

CAG.2040 David Lilburn, Kinsale Revisited, 2000, drypoint print, 49 x 60 cm. Purchased, 2000. © the artist.

Kinsale Revisited (2000) is a drypoint print by David Lilburn in which features of the County Cork town, including The Spaniard and Charles Fort’s star-shaped form, may be picked out.

In this aerial map-like view, much of Kinsale addresses the coastal inlet that has long defined it as a strategic harbour. Reflecting on his work, Lilburn considers that “the porous membrane of the southern edge of the island of Ireland is continually traversed with arrivals and departures – military, commercial, criminal, or cultural.”

Having studied history at Trinity College Dublin, the artist describes our coastline as “a vital threshold of contact with continental Europe and beyond.” This rich association may be read in Kinsale Revisited, with its layers of built heritage, active waterfront, and text annotations suggesting not just topography but a complex history. It is one of several works on the theme of the Irish coast the artist made arising from his largescale commission, Coastline, for the Irish Pavilion at EXPO 2000 in Hanover

David Lilburn (b.1950) is an artist and printmaker who often explores concepts of memory and identity in his work through a form of mapping and the rich narrative detail that maps may embody. He trained at both the Scuole Istituto Statale d’Arte, Urbino and Limerick School of Art & Design. A member of Limerick Printmakers, he co-runs Occasional Press and is a Trustee of the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland.

Kinsale Revisited (2000) by David Lilburn is featured in Statio Bene: Art and Ireland’s Maritime Haven (Floor 1) until April 2021.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 33 KINSALE REVISITED DAVID LILBURN

Work of the Week | 16 November 2020

CAG.897 Dorothy Cross, Simeon’s Hut, 1986, mixed media, 89.5 x 65 cm. Purchased, 1988. © the artist.

An early work by Dorothy Cross, Simeon’s Hut (1986) anticipates the artist’s later tendency to incorporate found objects, such as boats, animal or shark skins, in her oeuvre. Comprising a mix of materials, the work can be read from the gravity of lead at its base, with gilded steps leading upwards towards a narrow, vertically placed shaft of timber surmounted by a modest hut.

If we are to seek a narrative context for the work, its form coupled with its title can be taken to refer to Simeon Stylites (c.390-459). This fifth-century ascetic saint lived for 37 years on a platform atop a column near modern-day Aleppo, Syria. Does Simeon’s Hut therefore propose a site of solitary meditation away from busy communal life?

Dorothy Cross (b.1956) is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary artists and her work has been described as “moving from opera to object in a territory between idea and nature.”

Educated at the, then, Crawford Municipal School of Art, Leicester Polytechnic, and San Francisco Art Institute, Cross represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1993. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College Cork in 2009. Her work is also in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Ireland, The Hugh Lane, Ulster Museum, and TATE.

Simeon’s Hut (1986) by Dorothy Cross is featured in lucid abnormalities (Floor 1) until March 2021.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 32 DOROTHY CROSS SIMEONS HUT AND HEART SHIP

Work of the Week | 9 November 2020

CCAG.1912 Thomas Cook, after William Hogarth, Consultation of Physicians, 1809, engraving, 16.5 x 14.5 cm. Purchased, 1998.

To celebrate Science Week, our WORK OF THE WEEK comes with a dash of medical satire!

This image presents us with a mock coat-of-arms comprising the heads of fifteen so-called ‘quack doctors’ on a shield. The three in the upper portion can be identified as the oculist John Taylor (1703-1772), bonesetter Sarah Mapp (1706-1737), and Joshua Ward (1685-1761). In the lower portion, the artist pokes fun at the remaining doctors who, canes to their chins, comically feign deliberation as three closely inspect a glass vessel.

When it first appeared in 1736, William Hogarth’s The Company of Undertakers proved a popular satirical subject and was frequently reproduced over the succeeding century. This version (re-titled Consultation of Physicians), for instance, was engraved by Thomas Cook (1744/5-1818) and published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme on 1 January 1809.

At its base, and above the title, crossbones ominously flank a motto, Et Plurima Mortis Imago, derived from Virgil’s Aeneid. Translating as ‘And many an image of death’, it serves to underscore the mistrust that often greeted physicians before the standardisation of medical training and practice.

Best known for Gin Lane, A Harlot’s Progress, and A Rake’s Progress, London painter and printmaker William Hogarth (1697-1764) was celebrated for his pictorial satires of contemporary society. So popular and pirated were his works, that ‘Hogarth’s Act’ became the first visual arts copyright law in Britain.

Consultation of Physicians (1809) is displayed in our Anatomy Cabinet (Floor 1).

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 31 - THOMAS COOK, CONSULTATION OF PHYSICIANS

Crawford Art Gallery