Gina Costa | July 18, 2019
The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame presents an exhibit featuring Irish artists titled “‘Looking at the Stars’: Irish Art at the University of Notre Dame,” on view beginning Aug. 17 (Saturday). A public, free reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 6 (Friday) at the museum.
With the recent gift of modern paintings by artists such as Jack B. Yeats, Roderic O’Conor and Mary Swanzy, among others, from the Donald and Marilyn Keough family, the University has laid a solid foundation on which to build a rich collection of Irish art. This is the premier examination of many works from the Keough gift as well as several other significant collections of Irish art. Taken together, the collections combine to create a landmark exhibition at the Snite Museum of Art.
The exhibition will also include selected gifts to the museum of photographs by Alen MacWeeney. Born in Dublin in 1939, the photographer established a worldwide reputation when he chronicled the native itinerants of Ireland known as the Travellers. The artist’s genre studies in the chapels and pubs of Dublin, and his country landscapes, possess a mood of poetic evocation. Also included in the exhibition are MacWeeney’s photographs of O’Neill House in Southwestern County Kerry. Approximately 55 photographs, ranging in date from 1965 to 2015, will be shown.
Additionally, important collections from the museum, including a celebrated group of James Barry prints and substantial holdings in the Hesburgh Library’s Special Collections, will be featured.
The Snite Museum also announced the loan of several modern and contemporary masterpieces from the renowned collections of Pat and John O’Brien of Chicago.
The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at Notre Dame is a partner with the Snite Museum in this exhibition, the title of which comes from Oscar Wilde’s words in “Lady Windemere’s Fan”: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
“In celebrating the visual arts in Irish culture, the museum is proud to honor our donors, lenders and partners in a meaningful and meaning-filled way,” said Joseph A. Becherer, director of the Snite Museum of Art.
“The gift of paintings that is at the centerpiece of this important exhibition is all the more meaningful because it comes from the Keough family, one of the most generous benefactors to the University and to our Institute for Irish Studies,” said Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. “The paintings are more than an aesthetic contribution to Notre Dame. They are part of an exhibit that helps to build a bridge between Ireland and America — an endeavor that is at the very heart of our institute.”
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