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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:


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