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Stephen McKenna, 1939–2017

The Irish Coast1981

In ‘The Irish Coast’ Stephen McKenna combines classical and academic approaches to painting with the great 17th century Dutch tradition of marine painting, to comment on a very contemporary, yet universal subject. Painted in 1981 during the height of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, this painting brings together two different layers of conflict – a huge battle between the forces of nature, land, sea and sky – and the smaller, but no less dogged struggle between two men on the jetty. In the immediate foreground a bird appears oblivious to their petty quarrel.

MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions 99 x 124 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, Vincent & Noeleen Ferguson, 1996
Item NumberIMMA.769
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Stephen McKenna, The Irish Coast, 1981, Oil on canvas, 99 x 124 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, Vincent & Noeleen Ferguson, 1996

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

About the Artist

Stephen McKenna 1939–2017

English artist Stephen McKenna studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. McKenna’s still life, landscape and interior compositions referenced classical antiquity and explored the contemporary potential of those traditional genres. He exhibited extensively, including major solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; Stadtische Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. He was an elected member of Aosdána and the Royal Hibernian Academy.

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