A major new acquisition of a large-scale painting by the celebrated Irish-born artist Sean Scully was unveiled today (Friday 27 June) by the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Titianís Robe, 2008, is one of Scullyís new series of paintings on aluminium and as such adds significantly to IMMAís holding of works by the artist, ranging over almost 30 years. The work was purchased with a grant from the American Ireland Fund, which was made possible by a gift to the Fund by the American businessman and contemporary art collector Kevin Burke and his family.
Born in Dublin in 1945, Sean Scully is one of the most respected and well-known artists of his generation. Educated in the UK and the USA, he had his first exhibition in London in 1973. His work is represented in most major international museums and has been the subject of an extraordinary number of retrospectives around the world, including Dublin, London, New York, Chicago, Washington, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Canberra. He occupies a unique place in the contemporary art scene, and is widely credited with having expanded the possibilities of abstract painting after Minimalism.
Titianís Robe is part of a long series of Robe works, comprising paintings, watercolors, pastels and prints. The most recent paintings in the series are executed on four separate aluminum panels and then attached. The series refers to material and garments that are imbued with meaning, as in Josephís robe in the Book of Genesis, which was stained with goatís blood by his brothers who reported to their father, Israel, that he had been devoured by a wild animal, when they had, in fact, sold him into slavery. The specific title, Titianís Robe, was inspired by a visit the artist made to a recent exhibition in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, entitled The Late Titian and the Sensuality of Painting.
Speaking at the presentation of the painting, IMMAís Director, Enrique Juncosa, said: ďTitianís Robe will complement in a very substantial way the existing works by Sean Scully in the Museumís Collection. We are extremely grateful to Kevin Burke and his family and to the American Ireland Fund for enabling us to acquire this important painting and make it available to our Irish and international visitors. This brings to 11 the number of works in various media by Sean Scully in our Collection, beginning with Brennus, dating from 1979, and moving through many of the key explorations of the artistís career to date.Ē
The Museumís Collection comprises more than 4,500 works in a wide range of media, having grown significantly, through purchases, donations, long-term loans and the commissioning of new works. It is shown in themed exhibitions and rotating displays in the West Wing at IMMA, and also throughout Ireland via the Museumís unique National Programme. Major acquisitions over the past five years include three notably film works by the leading Irish artist James Coleman; a sculpture by the iconic French-born artist Louise Bourgeois, donated by the artist; 52 works from the important PJ Carroll Collection of Irish art from the 1960s and í70s, and the permanent loan of 39 works by prominent Irish artist Hughie OíDonoghue. The presence of IMMAís Collection abroad has increased very substantially in recent years, with large-scale exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai, China; Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago, United States; St Johnís, Newfoundland, and San Sebastian, Spain, plus numerous loans of individual works to museums and galleries worldwide.
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