The Collection Revealed is an innovative new series which encourages appreciation of, and participation in, modern and contemporary art as well as offering the opportunity for revealing many hidden gems from the Gallery's permanent collection. The portraits here are reflective of an instinctive urge to articulate a feeling, to record a friendship, to investigate form or to comment on status. Music in the Tuileries Gardens (1862) by Edouard Manet, acquired by Hugh Lane for this gallery, is a revolutionary painting of contemporary life and a spectacular group portrait which includes Manet himself as well as poets, painters, writers, composers, family and friends of the artist. Francis Bacon's final unfinished Self Portrait (1992) found on the easel in his legendary Reece Mews Studio is one of seven unfinished paintings by Bacon in our Collection which offer crucial insights into the artist's methods. It is indicative of the unceasing exploration of the human figure by an artist then over eighty years old. Both of Robert Ballagh's works intriguingly avoid capturing a likeness of the artist. His Self Portrait (1969) explores the de-humanizing effects of economic and political systems on the individual in society while his painting No. 3 (1977) explores the status of the artist in Ireland at that time. It is intriguing to have this artist's reflections on what was going on in his mind at the time. Brian Maguire has consistently used portraiture to express social and political concerns and the isolation of the individual in society. Self Portrait (2009)was painted in response to Rebeca another of his own works made in the context of the endemic Femicide in northern Mexico of the last two decades. Contemplating the horror of this, the artist questions how it could possibly happen. But as Maguire himself has said: 'Self-portraits are usually questions with no answers.' Portraiture derives from the interest we have in ourselves. This slim volume with commentary on the portraits takes us into the minds of artists as they mostly take themselves out of the studio and place themselves in a social setting. A restful, stimulating perusal for many wet afternoons.
|Edited by Jessica O'Donnell
|Hugh Lane Gallery
|1 Jan 2010
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The Perceptive Eye - Artists Observing Artists
Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud are perhaps the last two great exponents of self portraiture. This collection reveals how artists have interrogated the self and showcases rarely seen portraits of artists by artists, offering fascinating insights into how artists portray themselves and how they themselves are perceived.