Monday 30 April 1923
Gibson Bequest Minutes
Saturday 16th December 1922
Mr J.J. O’Connor in the Chair
Present: Councillor Eilis, `Messrs. Daniel Corkery, AF Sharman Crawford.
2. Notwithstanding the Committee’s previous decision to send William Sheehan [1894-1923] to Paris on the scholarship awarded the question of the suitability of this venue was reopened and after further consideration it was decided, for important reasons, to send him to Madrid instead. This was proposed by the Deputy Lord Mayor (Councillor Ellis) and seconded by Mr. Crawford
3. The meeting then considered the question of the monetary allowance to be made to Sheehan and on the motion of Mr. O’Connor it was decided:
4. The Secretary stated that in order to meet these expenses it would be necessary to make him advance payment from the Gibson Fund as the Committee’s paying order would hardly be accepted in Madrid.
5. It was agreed that this be done.
6. Mr Sheehan was then called before the meeting and advised by the Chairman and members as to his activities while in Madrid and of the hopes they entertained of his career if he made good use of the opportunity which was being afforded him.
7. The Chairman read a letter from Mr. George Atkinson, Principal, Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin, dated 14th instant, stating that he was securing a number of introductions for Sheehan to people in Madrid who can be relied on to put him in touch with painters and studios there.
8. The Committee had under consideration a further letter from Mr. Atkinson under date 1st December with reference to the securing of expert advice for the Committee on the matter of purchases of works of art and he suggested therein the following as expert consultants:
Mr Atkinson further stated that he suggested the office rather than the individual for the sake of continuity, and that these three might form the nucleus of a panel to act with others to be appointed by the Committee.
9. The Committee not being in accord with Mr Atkinson’s idea that the experts should be appointed more in consideration of their offices than of their individualities, decided to enlist the services of:
Mr Dermod O’Brien, President, Hibernian Academy
Mr. Langton Douglas, Director of the National Gallery
Mr. Geo. Atkinson, Head Master, Metropolitan School of Art
10. The Chairman then undertook to draft regulations governing the procedure to be observed relative to the purchase of works of art and to submit same for the approval of the Committee.
The Consultation, 1917
oil on canvas, 69 x 80 cm
CAG.295 Collection Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
The image above depicts the interior of the artist William Sheehan's family home at Great William O'Brien Street (Blackpool, Cork), his blending of two models – both his sister and the actress Caroline O'Connor – in the tense female figure suggests a less specific, more open meaning to the painting.
Among the numerous interpretations of this work, however, is that the withdrawn male figure imparts news of the death of O'Connor's two brothers, both of whom were killed in the First World War in 1917. The painting, therefore, may represent the impact of war on the home and on those anxiously awaiting the next letter. Sheehan's use of mirrors and still life serves to enhance the suspension of feeling in this moment, while the chair reflected in the background suggests emptiness or loss.
Portrait of a Lady (c.1917), also by Sheehan and in Crawford Art Gallery’s collection, can be seen reflected in the mirror.
Monday 20 November / Thursday 30 November 1922
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Thursday 9 November / Tuesday 31 October 1922
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