George W. Russell (AE) (1867-1935)
Portrait of Kitsy Franklin, N.D.
George William Russel was a landscape, portrait and mural painter as well as a writer. The son of a bookkeeper, Thomas Elias Russell, George was born in Co. Armagh on 10 April 1867. The family moved to Dublin in 1878, but it was during his holidays with family in Armagh that Russell began to paint in watercolour. By the time he was thirteen, Russell was already attending evening classes at the Metropolitan School of Art where his talent flourished.
In 1885, he enrolled in classes at the Royal Hibernian Academy, where he became friends with W.B. Yeats. Yeats later recalled that Russell did not draw from the model ‘as we tried to, for some other image rose always before his eyes and always he spoke to us of visions…’. It was Yeats who encouraged Russell to write in his early years and also introduced him to mysticism, and subsequently the Theosophical Society in Dublin. Numerous portraits by Russell of the Yeats family, and vice versa, testify to their continued friendship over the years.
Portrait of Kitsy Franklin is an undated oil on canvas work that captured the beauty of a young Irish woman, Kitsy was the youngest child of Victoria Franklin, and the niece of Susan and Jennie Mitchell, both families had strong connections with Sligo. Victoria attended school in Sligo with Jack B. Yeats and she later married Harry Franklin in the town in 1899.
Kitsy was a brilliant musician and a favourite niece of Susan Mitchell, who happened to be a life-long friend and colleague of Russell. The portrait captures Kitsy’s youth and beauty in an informal manner, she is painted in a simple white dress, as not to distract from her natural radiance. Russell’s colour pallet of orange and blue complement Kitsy’s features, her rosy cheeks and fiery red hair which cascades over her right shoulder are offset with the inclusion of blues, in her dress, the ribbon in her hair and the sweeping brushstrokes of contrasting colour that permeate the bottom right of the canvas. The viewer's eye is drawn to the centre of the painting where it meets Kitsy’s gaze.
🎶 March IMA features the celebrated traditional duo Draíocht: Michael Rooney & June McCormack, Irish Harp and Flute.
🎵 Performing a selection of the compositions that have established their reputation internationally.
🎶 Also, Cuan Durkin sings Handel and Schubert, accompanied by Nicola Cleary.
🎵 Lorraine Howley performs a flute sonata by Anna Bon with Anna Houston cello and Rod Alston harpsichord.
🎬 The March Informal Music Afternoon will go live at 1 pm on Sunday March 7th on the Model YouTube and Facebook channels.
❤️ If you would like to donate you can do so at: https://www.ifundraise.ie/IMAdonations
🎼 Informal Music Afternoons are produced by Sligo Baroque Orchestra in partnership with The Model.
Anna Spearman and Margie Dunne will join us tomorrow on Zoom for our March edition of the Artist Breakfast Club.
As always the event is free but registration is required in advance. Booking link in bio. #artistbreakfastclub#artistsoninstagram#sligo
Image: Untitled (saddle), fabric, wood, stuffing, 50x67x30cm. Anna Spearman, 2020
Ernest C. Hayes (1914-1978)
Portrait of Margaret (Peggy Maiben)
Ernest C. Hayes was born in Dublin in 1914, though he was the eldest son of an ophthalmic optician, he found his passion in the arts and became a portrait and landscape painter. In 1929, the artist entered Terenure College, Dublin, but only remained there for a short time; escaping from the school by jumping over the boundary wall on two occasions. It wasn’t until 1931 that Hayes found his path when he enrolled at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and studied under Sean Keating. Attributes from the romantic – realist technique can be observed in the works of both Hayes and his teacher Keating, as well as Keating’s mentor before him, Sir William Orpen.
The painting titled The Corridor was the artist's first work accepted by the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1932. This was a great achievement as Hayes was still attending the Metropolitan, which he graduated from in 1934. Up until the year of his death, Hayes contributed regularly to the RHA, averaging about four works annually. In 1935, Hayes became a member of the Dublin Sketching Club, was appointed secretary three years later, and elected as the President of the club in 1946, a post which he held for ten years. In 1946 Hayes became a member of the RHA and he opened his first studio address at 64 Dawson Street, Dublin.
Between 1956-1959, Hayes worked in London where he based his practice out of a sculptor's studio at 92 Carlton Hill. During this time, Hayes was commissioned to paint a two-meter-high portrait of the Duchess of Gloucester, which was unveiled in 1958 and now resides in St Botolph’s Hall, London. The Daily Mirror reported at the time, that Hayes was given six sittings of an hour each to complete the portrait, however, the Duchess’s public engagements caused many disruptions to his time. ‘During the sittings,’ the artist was quoted, ‘the Duchess would stand still for ten minutes. She would have a five minute break to walk around the room, and then stand still for another ten minutes.’ Hayes worked extensively in France, Italy, and Germany before settling in Co. Wicklow in 1966.
The artist breakfast club meets up again over Zoom on Wednesday, March 3rd. We will be joined by painter Margie Dunne and sculpture and installation artist Anna Spearman.
Marie Dunne is an artist who uses a mix of paintings and installations to explore a wide variety of different themes often exploring landscapes and abstraction.
Anna Spearman makes sculptural objects and installations using a variety of materials that she interacts with on a daily basis. Driven by a fascination with said materials she works instinctively to investigate them within her practice.
They will each discuss their practice and engage with attendees through a Q&A. As always the event is free but registration is required. (Link in bio) We look forward to seeing you then. #artistbreakfastclub