The Art of a Nation – The Story of Irish Art Over 125 Years

Picture of Mall Galleries Chairman Michael Portillo, AIB Chairman, Richard Pym & Irish Ambassador for Ireland, Daniel Mulhall at the Art of a Nation Exhibition, London.

02 Apr 2015

Posted in:  AIB News

The Art of a Nation is the first major exhibition in London for 30 years that celebrates the story of Irish art from 1900 to the present day.

The exhibition will be opened by Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD at the Mall Galleries, The Mall SW1, on 13 May 2015.

Drawing on the incomparable, award winning collection of paintings, photography, tapestry and sculptures from AIB and Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, this exhibition will include over 70 works by many of Ireland’s greatest artists.

Referencing key moments in Ireland’s rich history, from the War of Independence to the present day, the works range from 19th century en plein air painters such as Aloysius O’Kelly and Sir John Lavery to the Dublin Painters Sean Keating, Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry. Iconic moments of Irish life are also presented in works by Harry Kernoff and Grace Henry.

The exhibition includes modernist works by Sean Scully and Hughie O’Donoghue, and reflects on the strength and depth of contemporary Irish art through the work of John Gerrard and Caroline McCarthy. The exhibition also includes a work by Shane Blount, a 35-year old self-taught artist whose (family) portrait is depicted with gritty realism.

AIB’s collection of art began in 1980 when works were acquired in order to preserve and support this key aspect of Ireland’s cultural heritage. From the outset, AIB wished to build a representative collection, including works by Irish artists based at home and abroad and works by foreign artists operating in Ireland. This collection traces the development of Irish art, beginning with the birth of modernism around 1900.

Presented in collaboration with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, this exhibition offers a fascinating survey of the national essence of Irish art spanning 125 years.

AIB Chairman, Richard Pym, said, “The AIB collection is regarded as one of the finest in Ireland, scrupulously put together over more than three decades. We are delighted that the public in Britain has this opportunity to see the depth of Ireland’s culture and heritage”.

If you’d like to learn more about The Art of a Nation, please click here.

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