13 May 2015 to 31 May 2015

10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day)

Main Gallery & The Threadneedle Space

Admission Free

"The first major show of Irish art in London for over 30 years – taken from a collection assembled by a bank then made available to the nation after the financial crisis – reveals a century’s worth of poetry and protest on canvas"

- The Guardian

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.

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

Works by open air painters Aloysius O’Kelly, Sir John Lavery and Roderic O’Conor (whom Kenneth McConkey said “outstripped Monet in the pure intensity of his colour”) are represented, together with works by the ‘Dublin Painters’, Sean Keating, Jack B. Yeats, Paul and Grace Henry. Artists who celebrated the Irish way of life, like Harry Kernoff, as well as other experimenters who embraced new styles and themes, including Mary Swanzy, Mainie Jellett and Norah McGuinness, also feature in the exhibition.

The contemporary scene is represented with major works by Louis le Brocquy, Colin Middleton, twice Turner Prize nominee Sean Scully, one of the major painters currently working in the abstract idiom, photographer Willie Doherty and Royal Academician Hughie O’Donoghue.

Younger emerging artists such as Shane Blount and Caroline McCarthy demonstrate the strength and depth of Irish art today.

Presented with the collaboration of Ireland’s Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, the exhibition promises to offer a striking and thought-provoking survey of the national essence of Irish art.

Read an introduction to the exhibition from the catalogue by Lewis McNaught, Director, Mall Galleries


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Talk by Peter Murray, Director of the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork