Curated by Jessica O’Donnell, Head of Collections
‘The Collection Revealed’ is an exciting new series of spotlight exhibitions from the prodigious permanent collection of Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. The Gallery has over two thousand works of art in its collection and for reasons of space it is only ever possible to show a proportion of this at any one time. The Hugh Lane is extremely fortunate in having several examples of work by ground-breaking artists and it is hoped that ‘The Collection Revealed’ will further encourage appreciation of, and participation in modern and contemporary art as well as revealing many hidden gems from the permanent collection. The first exhibition in ‘The Collection Revealed’ series is Nathaniel Hone (1831-1917) an artist considered by Hugh Lane to be Ireland's greatest landscape painter. This is the first time for many years that all twelve paintings from the Gallery’s collection have been publicly exhibited.
Nathaniel Hone was the first Irish artist of renown to study in France and embrace Naturalism, painting out of doors, en plein air. He stayed in France for nearly twenty years painting in the Forest of Fountainebleau, near Paris and in Brittany and Normandy returning to Ireland in c. 1872. The countryside and seascapes around Malahide, where Hone lived, in north county Dublin were enduring subjects in his work and Evening, Malahide Sands c.1883 in the Gallery's collection is widely regarded as one of his greatest works. The twelve very fine paintings on show reveal Hone's fascination with water, particularly the sea as well as ever changing light and weather conditions. A keen yachtsman, the great expanse of sea, waves, sky and clouds in his work are painted with vigour and energy and capture the wildness of the Atlantic ocean off County Clare and County Donegal as well as the North Sea off Lowestoft in England. Hone, the artist-traveller also made a number of works inspired by his travels abroad to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt and View on the Nile is one of the rare oil paintings from his travels there.
An innovative aspect of The Collection Revealed is how it dovetails with the gallery's conservation programme thus ensuring the long term care of the collection as well as bringing to light new insights into artists techniques and practice. The conservation work on the Nathaniel Hone paintings and frames has given them a new lease of life and brought to the fore the effects of light and colour so fundamental to Hone’s work. Evidence of Hone’s painting out of doors has been revealed by the particles of red dust found on View of the Nile as well as small fragments of grain and bark on The Cornfield.
This exhibition is definitely a fantastic opportunity to view rarely seen works by one of Ireland’s great painters.
A full colour booklet The Collection Revealed: Nathaniel Hone (1831-1917) with texts by Dr Julian Campbell, Jessica O'Donnell, Sarah Maisey and Kathryn Day Carrigan is on sale in the Gallery Bookshop and a lecture on Nathaniel Hone takes place on Sunday 26th April at 1.30pm. The exhibition runs until 10 May 2009 and admission is free.
For further information please contact: Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1. Tel. 01 2225564. W. www.hughlane.ie
Image credit line: Evening, Malahide Sands by Nathaniel Hone