Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry in Limerick

To celebrate the opening of ‘Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry: Contrasting Visions of Ireland’, The Hunt Museum held a private preview of the exhibition on Thursday June 1st followed by Black Tie Gala Dinner in association with The Savoy Hotel.

The Hunt’s summer exhibition is a unique event bringing together two of Ireland’s most important 20th century artists. Billed to be a show of both national and international significance, ‘Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry: Contrasting Visions of Ireland’ features 51 works, many of which are normally unavailable for public viewing, and brings together a collection drawn from private and public collections including works from the European Investment Bank Collection in Luxembourg.

On  June 1st, Chairman of The Hunt Museum, John Moran, and Head of Collections and Exhibitions, Naomi O’Nolan, welcomed guests to the private preview of the exhibition, the first ever black tie event at the museum in its 20 year history at the Custom House building in Limerick’s city centre.

This unique exhibition features two of Ireland’s most important 20th century artists side by side. Featuring rarely seen paintings borrowed from mostly private collections, this unique event will encourage visitors to see Ireland through the eyes of two very different artists working before, during and after the establishment of the Irish Free State.

Speaking at the announcement of the exhibition earlier this year Dom Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey said: “They were practically contemporaries. Paul Henry was about six years younger than Jack Yeats and they died within a year of each other. Paul Henry was what might be called a postimpressionist. He went to the Achill Islands and was able to capture Irish landscape and the specific kind of lighting that Ireland enjoys, and how you could put those on a canvas and what the colour scheme would be. They’re beautiful but it became standardized so he wasn’t as experimental as Jack Yeats and I think the fascinating thing is both of them were painting the same kinds of scenes that we all see around us.”

In their distinctive ways, both Yeats and Henry offer an insight into the Ireland of their day, the newly independent Ireland, its landscapes and seascapes and the ways of life of its people.

For the first time this exhibition allows the visitor to compare the work of these two major artists, their constructions of the New Ireland and their distinctive representations of its terrain and its people.

Dom Hederman added, “This exhibition is going to be very important, and just while they’re developing the Wild Atlantic Way for tourists, they’re also trying to develop a cultural way which would take in Sligo, and Lady Gregory’s Estate at Coole Park, all that area down to here including the Hunt Museum. Here will be the culmination of all their peregrinations when they arrive for this exhibition so thank you to all who have organized it.”

Metropolitan Mayor of Limerick Michael Hourigan applauded the ambition to bring a collection such as this to The Hunt Museum, and Roisin Kennedy of UCD who wrote the essay for the exhibition catalogue highlighted the uniqueness of the exhibition and explained that these works will likely never again be exhibited together so urged everyone to savour the experience.

Proceeds raised from the event will help support The Hunt Museum’s expanding Education and Community Engagement Programmes.

Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry: Contrasting Visions of Ireland is open to the public from June 2nd to September 30th 2017 in The Hunt Museum, Limerick City.

Visit www.huntmuseum.com for further information.

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