Analysing Cubism: Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone, Mary Swanzy and masters of European Modernism
DUBLIN • Irish Museum of Modern Art • Ongoing
|Analysing Cubism focuses especially on the Continental milieu in which Hone, Jellett and other Irish artists worked in the 1920s and ‘30s, learning from and contributing to the development of European Modernism. |
Analysing Cubism takes its title from the early years of the movement, sometimes referred to as ‘Analytical Cubism’. However, the exhibition extends its scope to the end of the Second World War, a watershed in modern art when the focus shifted from Paris to New York. It looks at the work of a number of pioneering Irish artists who travelled to France and further afield to study modern art. The exhibition seeks to place these artists in context, examining the influence of their teachers, as well as exploring the work of some of the leading international exponents of Cubism.
The exhibition focuses on the Irish artists May Guinness, Jack Hanlon, Evie Hone, Mainie Jellett, Norah McGuinness and Mary Swanzy, and on their English counterparts Paul Egestorff and Elizabeth Rivers. It also includes work by European painters such as Georges Braque, Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris, Henri Hayden, André Lhote and Pablo Picasso. The largest concentration of work in the exhibition is by Gleizes, Hone, Lhote and Jellett – in recognition of the extensive influence that these artists had on modern Irish abstract painting.
The influence of André Lhote is evident through his many pupils; these included May Guinness, Jack Hanlon, Evie Hone, Mainie Jellett, Norah McGuinness and Elizabeth Rivers. These artists travelled to Paris, seeking to discover abstraction and new forms of expression, each artist interpreting these influences in their own unique style. Mainie Jellett, was perhaps the most influential of her generation, through her own painting, her founding of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art and her work as a teacher, promoting Modernism in a country firmly committed to the academic tradition of the Royal Hibernian Academy. Evie Hone was Jellett’s dearest friend and intellectual partner, and the two travelled extensively in each other’s company. Mary Swanzy, like Jellett and Hone was first trained in Paris, but also travelled to Italy and later to Samoa in the South Seas – following in the footsteps of Paul Gauguin, where the colours and forms of the tropics dominated her practice.
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