CAG.308 Mainie Jellett, Abstract Composition, c.1935, oil on canvas, 104 x 81.5 cm. Presented, Friends of the National Collections of Ireland.
We’re delighted to announce our upcoming reopening with this WORK OF THE WEEK!
As we get ready to open our doors again on Monday 29 June, it’s exciting to think about seeing and experiencing art ‘in the flesh’ once again. During the long lockdown, many of us turned to the work of artists, writers, actors, musicians, and so many others in our arts sector to sustain us and help us through.
It has been said of the artist behind this painting, Mainie Jellett (1897-1944), that for her “all the arts converged.” Particularly musical, she also designed stage sets for theatre, as she did for the 1941 ballet Puck Fair at The Gaiety Theatre. Her lifelong friend, the writer Elizabeth Bowen continues by saying that she “made felt in her painting, her consciousness of her own, and our own, time, with its death throes and birth pangs, its agonising transitions.”
Abstract Composition (c.1935) is a very fine example of Dublin-born Jellett’s disciplined form of Cubism, which she had perfected with Evie Hone and Albert Gleizes in Paris. While it may appear purely abstract, many rightly perceive a synthesis of subject matter. Using the traditional mode of oil on canvas, the artist distils her subject into modulations of colour and form, evoking something spiritual in the process. Does the painting refer to Christian imagery of the Holy Trinity or Madonna and Child?
The poet, and former Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, Thomas McGreevy once tellingly wrote that Jellett “is the least compromising as she is the best trained of what might be described as the experimental school of contemporary Irish artists.” He felt that her work was “the kind of art which shakes us out of our complacency.”
Abstract Composition (c.1935) by Mainie Jellett is on display in our Harry Clarke Room (Floor 2). Looking forward to welcoming you back!
Tune in to 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:
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