Brian Doherty, ed., The Irish Imagination 1959-1971 (1971), in association with Rosc [cat. of exhibition at Municipal Gallery devised by Brian O’Doherty].

The catalogue includes biographical and critical notices on contemporary painters exhibited here, including John Montague on Barry Cooke, Seamus Heaney on TP Flanagan [‘the pictures are the afterlife of experience’], Thomas Kinsella on Louis LeBrocquy, and Pearse Hutchinson on Nano Reid [‘For my money the best Irish painter: mo cheol thu, a Nano’], John Jordan on Edward Maguire, Terence de Vere White Norah McGuinness, Michael Longley on Colin Middleton, John Ryan on Patrick Swift, Hayden Murphy on Robert Ballagh. Roger McHugh writes on Yeats’s ‘The Municipal Gallery Revisited’ and associated pictures. The exhibition was divided into sections: general, ‘The native Heritage’, ‘The Puritan Nude’, and ‘The Municipal gallery Revisited [literary]’.

Municipal Gallery modern Irish collection includes: Sean Keating, ‘A man of the West’, 1916; Lavery, ‘St patrick’s Purgatory [n.d.]; ‘It is finished’, 1935 [inscript. Lavery, ‘the unfinished harmony, 1934’]; ‘Arthur Griffith’ [n.d.]; ‘Kevin O’Higgins’ [n.d.]; Hazel Lavery at her Easel; ‘The Court of Criminal Appeal’, 1916; ‘The Blessing of the Colours; [n.d.]; Lady Gregory by Antonio Mancini c.1905; Sir Hugh Lane by John Singer Sargeant 1906; Lady Charles Beresford by John Singer Sargeant; robertGregory by Charles Shannon 1906; John M Synge by John Bulter Yeats.

Biog: John B. Yeats, cites Thomas Bodkin, John Butler Yeats, in Dublin Mag., I, Jan 1924; also J. B. Yeats, Letters to his Son (Faber 1944).

Heaney on Flanagan: ‘.. The pictures are the afterlife of experience. They advance and retire along the brink of the actual, sometimes close enough to be tinged with the bolder presences of colour, sometimes haunting the canvas like luminous mists. Occasionally the manifestations are dramatic and yearn openly back towards their local habitation, more often it is the name that reminds us that the ghosted forms once possessed the lineaments of place.’ [58]

Brian Fallon on Oisin Kelly: ‘The irishness is there, but it is never obstrusive, never an end in itself .’ [72]

Kinsella identifies as LeBrocquy’s central qualities ‘the gift of concentration’ and ‘steady energy’ as well as an ‘individual force[,] stemming from tireless curiosity’. ‘Blank stares’; ‘tenuous beings and presences’. He comments on the Táin: ‘when le Brocquy’s technical means are restricted, as with the black brush drawings commissioned for a translation of the early Irish epic The Tain (1969)—with the subjects prescribed and the tone preset- it is characteristic that his art should burst into sensual excess, copious revitalising of primal images—of bull, hound and carrion-crow, of warrior, queen and horde. And, again, coherence is a heature of the performance. The apparently random commission found a prepared response—even a prepared style, as a cover design for a book of Irish tales drawn by le Brocquy many years earlier, attests. The effect is to throw a stronger emphasis on the Celtic (not necessarily Irish) elemnt that has formed his work since the early 1960s.’ [78]

Edward Maguire’s portraits include Patrick Kavanagh, Pearse Hutchinson, and Michael Harnett, the latter two exhibited here [Harnett only in cat.]. Kavanagh is also portrayed by Patrick Swift.

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