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Life above Everything: Lucian Freud and Jack B. Yeats will examine the interconnections between renowned British artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011) and one of the most important figures in Irish art Jack B. Yeats (1871 – 1957).

Freud thought of Yeats as a great painter of his time, and Freud’s first visit to Ireland in 1948, has been described as, at least in part, a ‘pilgrimage’ to the site of Yeats’ work. Like Yeats before him, Freud was navigating the British art world from a hybrid position, both insider and outsider, both well-connected and strangely alone, both British and not. Freud and Yeats exhibited together only once in their lifetime, in the inaugural exhibition of the ICA in London in 1948.

Life above Everything will mark and excavate the affinities and interconnections between these two artists. The exhibition at IMMA will draw into dialogue the work of these two stubbornly individual painters, placing them side-by-side for the first time in 70 years.

David Dawson, artist and Freud’s long-time studio assistant, has assisted in the selection for this exhibition, bringing to the project a unique, intimate knowledge of Freud’s interest in Yeats.

Life above Everything: Lucian Freud and Jack B. Yeats is the fourth exhibition to be presented as part of the IMMA Collection: Freud Project, a major five year initiative where 52  works by painter Lucian Freud (1922-2011) have been lent to IMMA’s Collection by private lenders.

Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud 1922–2011

Lucian Freud (1922-2011) was one of the greatest realist painters of the 20th century. Renowned for his portrayal of the human form, Freud is best known for his intimate, honest, often visceral portraits. Working only from life Freud’s studio was intensely private and he mainly worked with those he was close to, often asking subjects to sit for hundreds of hours over multiple sittings to better capture the essence of their personality. — View Artist »

Jack Butler Yeats

Jack Butler Yeats 1871–1957

Irish painter Jack B. Yeats was born in London and grew up in Sligo with his maternal grandparents before returning to London in 1887 to live with his parents. He briefly attended the Government School of Design and the Westminster School of Art and went onto work as an illustrator for sporting periodicals and newspapers. A visit to the West of Ireland in 1898 inspired his first solo exhibition 'Sketches of Life in the West of Ireland'. It would remain his theme for much of his artistic career. — View Artist »


IMMA Collection: Freud Project is made possible through the visionary support of the Freud Circle, and those donors that wish to remain anonymous.

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