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Oisín Kelly, 1915–1981

Bust of Dorothy Walker1954

Dorothy Walker was a key figure in the Irish art world of her generation, as an art critic, curator and cultural ambassador. A founding member of the ROSC exhibitions, she promoted international modern and contemporary art in Ireland and Irish art on an international stage.
She re-activated the Irish National Section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of IMMA having worked unstintingly for its establishment.

She was a supporter and friend of many leading Irish artists including Louis le Brocquy, Patrick Scott, Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland, Michael Craig Martin, Sean Scully and James Coleman, Nigel Rolfe, Dorothy Cross, Alice Maher, Alannah O’Kelly, Eilis O’Connell, Vivienne Roche and others.She formed a friendship with German artist Joseph Beuys whom she met in the 1970s and introduced to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham (IMMA) as a potential symbolic site for Beuys’s Free International University for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research.

To mark her contribution to Irish art in general and IMMA in particular, ‘Portrait Head of Dorothy Walker’, by Oisin Kelly, donated by the Walker family in 2011, was recently installed in the grounds of IMMA, in the vicinity of the oak tree, (a symbolic tree in Beuys’s lexicon), planted by Caroline Tisdall and Declan McGonagle on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Joseph Beuys Multiples’ held at IMMA in 1994.

Dorothy Walker’s Archive is located at NIVAL, National College of Art & Design and can be accessed online via

MediumBronze on Kilkenny Limestone plinth
Dimensions Object size, 25 x 15 x 22 cm
Unframed, 165.5 x 19.1 x 19.1 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, Walker Family, 2011
Item NumberIMMA.3807
On view25/09/2013 - 31/12/2028
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Oisín Kelly, Bust of Dorothy Walker, 1954, Bronze on Kilkenny Limestone plinth, Object size, 25 x 15 x 22 cm|Unframed, 165.5 x 19.1 x 19.1 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, Walker Family, 2011

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Oisín Kelly 1915–1981

Irish sculptor Oisín Kelly attended Trinity College Dublin and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. He also studied under Henry Moore between 1948 and 1949. Kelly has worked with a range of materials and is now best known for his public sculptures in bronze, notably ‘The Children of Lir’ and ‘James Larkin’ in Dublin’s city centre. In 1978, a major exhibition of his sculpture toured the Ulster Museum, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin and the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork.

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Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.