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Today: 11:30am–5:30pm
Tomorrow: 11:30am–5:30pm

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Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Phone +353 1 6129900

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Mary Swanzy (1882-1978) is a unique Irish artist. Her level of achievement, world travel and original thinking is unmatched in Irish art. Born in the late Victorian era, by her early twenties Swanzy had mastered the academic style of painting. She witnessed the birth of Modern art in Paris before the First World War and her work rapidly evolved through the different styles of the day, each of them interpreted and transformed by her in a highly personal way.

In 1920, against the background of violence of the Irish War of Independence, she left Ireland in a form of self-imposed exile. Traveling first through Eastern Europe and the Balkans, she then sailed to Hawaii and Samoa from 1923 to 24 – literally crossing the globe. While there she produced a body of work that is unique in an Irish context with images that show her proto-feminism and critique of the colonial system. Best known for her Cubist and Futurist paintings, after 1914 she exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon des Indépendants and the Beaux Arts, alongside artists who are now household names. By 1946 she was included in exhibitions with Chagall, William Scott and Henry Moore but after this time her work fell into obscurity. This may in part have been due to her status as a female artist and indeed she was vocal on issues of gender, remarking:

“if I had been born Henry instead of Mary my life would have been very different”.

This IMMA initiated exhibition aims to reintroduce our audiences to this artist’s extraordinary achievements and reinstate her as a Modern Irish Master.

The exhibition will tour to Crawford Art Gallery, Cork from 15 March – 3 June 2019 and Limerick City Gallery of Art from 20 June – 15 September 2019.


About the Artist

Mary Swanzy 1882–1978

Mary Swanzy (1882-1978) is a unique Irish artist. Her level of achievement, world travel and original thinking is unmatched in Irish art, yet this is the first retrospective of her work in 50 years. She witnessed the birth of Modern art in Paris before the First World War and her work rapidly evolved through the different styles of the day, each of them interpreted and transformed by her in a highly personal way. — View Artist »

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Exhibition Curator Sean Kissane introduces the exhibition

Additional Resources 

 

Additional Resources

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Catalogue Mary Swanzy
Voyages
€29.00 IMMA are delighted to present this fully illustrated monograph on Mary Swanzy. It includes text by exhibition Curator Seán Kissane and a biography by artist and researcher Liz Cullinane. View Product
Books The Moderns: The Arts in Ireland
from the 1900s to the 1970s
€70.00 Irish artists and writers have played a fascinating role in the story of modernism. This 596 page book traces this story by bringing together exceptional works of Irish significance. View Product
Books Patrick Hennessy
De Profundis
€39.00 Patrick Hennessy RHA (1915-80), was one of Ireland's most successful realist painters in the post-war period. This publication sheds light on this critically neglected artist. View Product
Catalogue Analysing Cubism €25.00 Analysing Cubism explores the early decades of Cubism and features the work of such celebrated Cubist artists as Albert Gleizes, Evie Hone and Mainie Jellett. This fully-illustrated catalogue accompanied the landmark 2013 IMMA exhibition. View Product

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