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WORK OF THE WEEK | 25 November 2019

CAG.495 Evie Hone, Abstract, c.1935, gouache on paper, 26 x 37 cm. Purchased, Gerald Goldberg, 1962 (Gibson Bequest Fund). © the artist's estate.

For this WORK OF THE WEEK we turn our attention to the earliest abstract painting acquired with funds from the Gibson Bequest.

Simply entitled Abstract, this gouache on paper composition is characteristic of Evie Hone’s cubist style of the 1930s. As a student, the Dublin-born artist had been taught in London by Bernard Meninsky and Walter Sickert, but – more significantly – it is here that she also met her lifelong companion, Mainie Jellett (1897-1944). Together, they would apply themselves to a strict form of analytic Cubism – in the Paris ateliers of Albert Gleizes and André Lhote – and adopted a method of ‘translation and rotation’ in their work.

On their return home, at the Society of Dublin Painters Group Show of 1923, the two artists exhibited the first works of abstract art shown in modern Ireland. In this sense, they followed in the avant-garde footsteps of fellow pioneering Irish artist Mary Swanzy (1882-1978). These works were initially met with misunderstanding, however, and even derision, with an Irish Times critic suggesting they suffered from ‘artistic malaria’. Slowly and persistently, however, Hone and Jellett were to transform the Irish art scene.

Evie Hone (1894-1955) converted to Catholicism in 1937 and subsequently became a member of An Túr Gloine, the Dublin stained-glass cooperative studio founded by Sarah Purser (1848-1943). Hone’s celebrated window My Four Green Fields (1939) is installed at Government Buildings, Merrion Street.

One of eleven works by Evie Hone in our collection, Abstract is featured in THE GIBSON BEQUEST 1919-2019: Selecting, Collecting & Philanthropy.

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