Crawford Art Gallerypermanent collection

The Marchioness of Crewe

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The Marchioness of Crewe
Irish School
Oil on canvas
76.4 x 64.4cm


Gibson Fund Acquisition 1932

William Orpen
Irish School

As professor at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin in the early years of the century, Orpen taught a generation of students whose names were to become synonymous with the Irish art of their time - Sean Keating, Patrick Tuohy, Leo Whelan, Maurice MacGonigal and others.

Orpen’s was a traditional approach based on the atelier system and maintaining at its core the primacy of the life-drawing class. It was this style, which can be called Academic Realism, which came to be adopted as the ‘official’ artistic style of the new Irish Free State, a relationship which ultimately helped neither the state nor the artists it professed pride in supporting. The paradox of course being that the immediate source of this style, - adopted by a country which had just broken centuries of political connexion with Britain - was one of the most prominent British art schools, the Slade.

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