By Stacey Wrenn
One of the ways in which the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork has expanded its permanent collection over the past two decades has been by commissioning and acquiring portraits of Irish writers. Organised under the theme ‘Writers’, this part of the collection contains portraits executed by means of painting, sculpture and photography by several prominent Irish artists of the past and present.
Highlights include a fascinating series of paintings by Louis le Brocquy of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and W. B. Yeats, John Minihan’s iconic photograph of Beckett at the Petit Cafe, Paris, and Edward McGuire’s arresting portrait of writer Anthony Cronin, which is the most recent acquisition by the gallery under this theme.
Also on display is a vibrant portrait by celebrated contemporary painter Mick O’Dea of the poet Micheal O’Siadhail, commissioned by the gallery in 2005. As a catalogue of famous Irish writers the collection is far from complete; however, it is subject to continuous development and should be viewed as complementary to other portrait collections such as those at the Abbey Theatre and the National Gallery of Ireland. As such, it represents an important contribution to this aspect of the national art collections and provides a template for their future development.
Visit the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork City for free from 10.00am– 5.00pm Monday to Saturday, with later closing on Thursdays.