Artists' Century: Irish Self-Portraits and Selected Works, 1900-2000by Paula Murphy

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  • Irish Arts Review

    Artists' Century: Irish Self-Portraits and Selected Works, 1900-2000 by Paula MurphyReview by: Ann CreminIrish Arts Review Yearbook, Vol. 17 (2001), p. 180Published by: Irish Arts ReviewStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20493197 .Accessed: 16/06/2014 08:50

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  • Book Reviews

    Dream Collection', which proves most useful with well researched pointers on the pros and cons of buying art at auction

    which really is quite a simple procedure but one by which the uninitiated feel daunted. I am not quite sure what Maggie

    Britton's article entitled 'A Romance of Irish Art' is doing in this volume having also been seen, more appropriately, in the Irish Antique Dealers Association Yearbook last year but the illustrations are good.

    The editor and compiler of the guide, Roberta Reeners, also provides an introduc tion in which she attempts to explain the

    phenomenon of the rise in the Irish art mar

    ket and identifies some of the main movers. This guide does most of what it sets out

    to do and in an attractive fashion, despite the fact that the typesetter was unable to

    locate the caps key on their keyboard. I do

    not expect to see the next edition for a

    few years when a reasonable bank of prices will have been built up again. I, for one,

    will not be holding my breath.

    JAMES O'HALLORAN is a Director of the James Adam

    Salerooms.

    Artists' Century: Irish Self-Portraits and Selected Works, 1900-2000 .................................................................................................................................................................. BY PAULA MURPHY ..................................................................................................................................................................

    Gandon Editions 1999 p/b

    228 pp. 210 col ills 0946846-448 ..................................................................................................................................................................

    Ann Cremin

    This nicely-produced volume from the indefatigable Gandon Press reflects on one

    hundred years of Irish artists by means of

    one self-portrait and one representative work.

    The listing is by no means exhaustive

    since its premise meant that self-portraits had to be available in the first place. It

    was published on the occasion of a millen

    nium exhibition organised jointly by the RHA, the Ormeau Baths Gallery and the

    National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland. It is a handsome volume, with the

    works speaking for themselves on double pages: the self-portrait facing an 'impor tant' work. The catalogue notes were

    compiled by Paula Murphy of UCD and

    she has written an informative text,

    retracing the history of Irish painting over

    SELF-PORTRAIT BY JOHN LUKE: From Artists' Century: Irish Self-Portraits and Selected Works, 1900-2000 by Paula Murphy. Called The Tipster, this self-portrait

    from the Ulster Museum was exhibited alongside the artist's The Road to the West from the same collection.

    the past century. She situates the historic context leading to the muted develop

    ment of the visual arts in Ireland before

    the Second World War and the recent

    freedom, in every sense, experienced by the current generation of artists, whether they are working in Ireland or abroad, such as Richard Gorman or Kathy

    Prendergast, to mention just two of the leading lights.

    It is quite amusing to see the way in

    which the artists view themselves, as well as the works chosen to represent them.

    Robert Ballagh gives us the full frontal treatment in Upstairs, 3, as well as show

    ing a more classical self-portrait. Other artists are more coy about their own images as Camille Souter demonstrates with her 'image' as a fish in Achill, alongside an

    earlier painting, Slaughtered Cow, Ten Minutes Dead (premonitions of Damien Hirst?). I enjoyed the Pretty Fierce Self-por trait by Norah MacGuinness which is

    indeed a very apt description. Alice Maher is more allusive with her Self-Portrait: Four

    Views (of hair), braided or otherwise, whereas Eilis O'Connell has gone to the

    other extreme with her startling Life-Mask. ANN CREMIN is an international art critic based in Paris.

    Buildings of County Armagh .................................................................................................................................................................. BY C E B BRETr WITH PHOTOGRAPHY BY

    MICHAEL O'CONNELL ..................................................................................................................................................................

    Ulster Archaeological Heritage Society 1999 h/b ?28

    286 pp. 24 col 236 b/w ills 0-900457-54-6 ..................................................................................................................................................................

    Jeremy Williams

    Before Sir Charles Brett published his Buildings of County Antrim in 1996, it was

    suggested that he should defer to Alistair Rowan and his co-authors and wait until

    the completion of their Buildings of Ireland. He replied that this would entail a ban of

    many years on writing on Irish architec

    ture and went ahead. Four years later,

    with no further Buildings of Ireland volume on Ulster in sight, he has brought out a

    companion volume, Buildings of County Armagh, written with such vigour over two years that we may all hope to see the

    further four counties so magisterially sur

    veyed and so observantly photographed by Michael O'Connell

    The first entry is the Neolithic tomb of

    Clontygora, 'a surprisingly attractive and

    moving place, considering how boring some cairns can be.' The second last entry

    on the Edward Saunderson memorial ends

    thus: 'and yet a smile is raised by the

    sweep and clarity with which the sculptor

    represents frock-coat, watch-chain, whiskers and waist-coat buttons, all the

    more so when the statue is seasonably

    decorated with a long, old-fashioned, Orange sash, the bottom attached to a

    trouser-leg with string.' Indeed the text is

    peppered with personal opinions and there

    is significantly more than architecture being assessed within these pages but

    without recourse to dry English platitudes or honeyed southern Irish hypocrisy -

    note, for example, his brief essay on

    thatched cottages. While the city of Armagh has been well

    studied, south Armagh has been totally unknown until now. The elegance of the

    neo-Classical villas of Beech Hill, that I

    have glimpsed from the road, and Acton,

    that I have glimpsed from the train,

    receive their due for the first time. Acton,

    with its elliptical dining room projecting into the valley below, is extraordinarily

    sophisticated. Sir Charles resists stylistic attributions but it is difficult to believe that

    1 80

    IRISH ARTS REVIEW

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    Article Contentsp. 180

    Issue Table of ContentsIrish Arts Review Yearbook, Vol. 17 (2001), pp. I-LIV, 1-218Front MatterA Diary of the Art Year in Ireland [pp. 1-25]Jeanne Sheehy 1939-99 [pp. 26-27]Changes at Irish Arts Review [p. 27-27]Purring with Pleasure: The New Chester Beatty Library [pp. 28-33]Frederick Prussia Plowman: A Dublin Painter of the Late-18th Century [pp. 34-36]A Lost Leader: M. J. McNamara and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Cork [pp. 37-43]Bleak House: The Pollexfen Ancestry of the Yeats Family [pp. 44-47]In the Shadow of the Sidhe: Arthur Kingsley Porter's Vision of an Exotic Ireland [pp. 48-60]'Irish Artists on Irish Subjects': The Cooper Collection in the National Library [pp. 61-69]William Dargan and the Worcester Shakespeare Service [pp. 70-79]A Colourful Spectacle Restored: The State Coach of the Lord Mayor of Dublin [pp. 80-87]A Capital Tale: Some Relicts of Pearce's Parliament House Rediscovered [pp. 88-95]The Elusive Sir Edward Lovett Pearce [pp. 96-106]New Irish Architecture: The Architectural Year Reviewed [pp. 107-113]From Dublin to the Far East: An Tr Gloine Stained Glass in Singapore [pp. 114-121]'Joannes Clericus': The Life and Work of the Revd John Rooney [pp. 122-126]The Intemperate Life of Thomas Frederick Collier [pp. 127-132]The Practical and the Decorative: The Kildare Estate Maps of John Rocque [pp. 133-140]Soundings: The Paintings of Mark Francis [pp. 141-149]Postcards from Brittany: Walter Osborne's Wallet of Photographs [pp. 150-155]'The Science of Elegant Luxury': Johnstown Castle [pp. 156-165]Book ReviewsReview: untitled [p. 166-166]Review: untitled [p. 167-167]Review: untitled [p. 168-168]Review: untitled [pp. 168-169]Review: untitled [pp. 169-170]Review: untitled [pp. 170-171]Review: untitled [p. 171-171]Review: untitled [pp. 171-172]Review: untitled [pp. 172-173]Review: untitled [p. 173-173]Review: untitled [pp. 173-174]Review: untitled [p. 174-174]Review: untitled [p. 175-175]Review: untitled [p. 176-176]Review: untitled [pp. 176-177]Review: untitled [pp. 177-178]Review: untitled [pp. 178-179]Review: untitled [pp. 179-180]Review: untitled [p. 180-180]Review: untitled [pp. 180-181]Review: untitled [pp. 181-182]Review: untitled [pp. 182-183]Review: untitled [p. 184-184]Review: untitled [pp. 185-186]Review: untitled [pp. 186-187]Review: untitled [pp. 187-188]Review: untitled [pp. 188-189]Review: untitled [pp. 189-190]Review: untitled [p. 190-190]

    New Auction Records 2000 [pp. 191-194]Price Guide to Irish Art [pp. 195-217]Back Matter