Archive for category Publisher: National Gallery of Ireland

Roderic O’Conor & the Moderns: Between Paris and Pont-Aven

This nicely produced and generously illustrated book is the catalogue of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland between July and October 2018.

Born in County Roscommon, O’Conor (1860-1940) moved to France and divided his time between Paris and rural art colonies such as Grez and Pont-Aven. This brought him into contact with a variety of influences at a time when art movements were developing and groups forming. An initial glance at his work tends to place him as an Impressionist or Post-Impressionist, but wider contact is evident. The exhibition shows his work alongside that of Gaugin, Van Gogh, Emile Bernard and others.

There are 66 illustrations in the book, mostly by O’Conor, but also others, reflecting the catholic nature of the exhibition. Drawings and etchings as well as paintings reflect the variety of media in which the artist worked and many have not previously been publicly exhibited.

Both the exhibition and its catalogue provide an excellent overview of a major artist whose work is perhaps not as widely known as it could be.

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Emile Nolde : Colour is Life

Colour is strength. Strength is life.
Only strong harmonies are important.

Emile Nolde wrote this in the final volume of his four-volume autobiography and it serves as a manifesto for his art – indeed it could stand for much of art in general.

Nolde was part of the German Expressionist movement, but lived in the northern part of the country near the border with Denmark, and was in fact a Danish citizen when he died. Much of his imagery reflects the landscapes and, above all, the people that surrounded him.

This survey of his life and work, which is much more than a catalogue of the exhibition currently at the National Gallery of Ireland, stresses that he was, for all that, not merely a regional artist. He was fully up to speed on trends and movements in contemporary art and also a master of both technique and colour. His use of the latter can, in the Expressionist manner, shock, but that’s designed to get attention and make the viewer think. It also provides a vibrancy and, in figurative works, a depth of character that is not always possible by other means.

As well as a generous format and some superb reproduction, there are also considered essays on a variety of aspects of Nolde’s work that make this, while more of a survey than an in-depth study, a thoroughly worthwhile assessment of the man and his work. It also stands well even when separated from the exhibition.

Note: the edition reviewed is that with the imprint of the National Gallery of Ireland. It is, however, also published by the National Gallery of Scotland and that is the edition linked to below.

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