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Details & Cataloguing

A Living Legacy: Irish Art from the Collection of Brian P. Burns

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London

George Russell, called AE
1867-1935
CELTIC TWILIGHT

Provenance

The Oriel Gallery, Dublin, 1997

Exhibited

Washington, John F. Kennedy Center, Irish Paintings from the Collection of Brian P. Burns, 13 - 28 May 2000, illustrated p.87;
New York, The Consulate General of Ireland, Eight Works from the Brian P. Burns Collection of Irish Art, Celebrating the Restoration of St Patrick's Cathedral, 7 March - 31 July 2014

Catalogue Note

Hovering between shades of Symbolism, Impressionism and the Celtic Revival, George Russell’s paintings have an enduring appeal for collectors of Irish art. He painted both visionary scenes, and also real landscapes. His visionary paintings depict a world in which fairies and sprites, no less than human beings, are absolutely present. His real landscapes - often scenes in Sligo, Donegal or Mayo - are almost always informed by an acute understanding of the hard living conditions endured by people in the West of Ireland. Whether corporeal or psychical, the figures Russell evokes seem often tinged with sadness. His country people, young and old, are lost in thought, while his spirits are equally enveloped in a nostalgic haze, as they seem to pine for a lost world. 

Painted in 1920, when Ireland was in the midst of revolution and civil conflict, Russell’s Celtic Twilight might at first glance seem remote from the dangers and challenges presented by the political and military situation. However, while depicting a scene of tranquillity, there is also a sense of events unfolding in the wider world. Depicting two figures by a lake in the West of Ireland. the painting is dominated by a misty sky, suffused with sunshine, and tinged with pink. Above a range of purple mountains in the distance, the sun, part hidden in the mist, is beginning to set. In the foreground, beside a small lake, two girls, one sitting and one standing, appear lost in thought as the day draws to a close. They may be contemplating a past that is slipping away with the evening, or possibly a new future that the dawn will bring.

Peter Murray

A Living Legacy: Irish Art from the Collection of Brian P. Burns

|
London