The beautiful Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane houses a collection on modern and contemporary Irish and International art – located in Charlemont House on Parnell Square in a neo-classical town house designed in 1765 by William Chambers for James Caulfield, the first Earl of Charlemont.
The Gallery’s collection includes the renowned Hugh Lane bequest of 39 French paintings shared with the National Gallery in London, including masterpieces by Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir and Morisot. The collection also includes works presented by artists who were sympathetic to Lane’s vision – among them, the Irish artists Roderic O’Connor and Jack B. Yeats (one of my favorite).
I especially enjoyed three exhibits.
The Stained Glass Room and Harry Clark’s beautiful stained glass work, The Eve of St. Agnes, is exquisite. During many trips to Dingle, Co. Kerry, I’ve had the pleasure of learning about and viewing Clark’s gorgeous windows in the Díseart Centre of Irish Spirituality and Culture (Ionad Spioradáltachta agus Cultúir Ghaelaigh).
The Sean Scully Room contains a collection of significant paintings from the 1980s to today and is bathed in natural light. It was great to see these gorgeous, nuanced, massive paintings – I have several of Scully’s books and love his work.
The Francis Bacon Studio complex consists of the artist’s studio relocated from London to Dublin (1998), his unfinished works, Melvyn Bragg’s celebrated interview with Francis Bacon in his studio, a very cool micro-gallery with interactive touch screens providing insights into Bacon’s studio materials and artifacts. It was fascinating to hear/see Bacon talking about his artistic process and to read about his approach to art-making and the importance of a chaotic creative studio environment.
The café and bookshop were delightful – here’s my photo of the bright and airy courtyard in the gallery’s new wing. I love Irish architecture and the use of glass to let in light. I had a tasty, light lunch of chicken and lentil soup and brown bread – a perfect capstone to the gallery visit.