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Artist Profiles

All About The Merrion

Artist Profiles

Art adorns the walls of The Merrion hotel in Dublin by such world renowned artists as the following:

Martin Mooney

True to the spirit of 18th century arts patronage, Martin Mooney, one of Ireland's finest young painters, was commissioned to paint a series of works for the elegant neo-classical stairwell in The Merrion's Front Hall.

The Front Hall remains much as it would have been when the house was built in the mid 18th century. Plain white walls show off the original cornices and plasterwork, leaving Mooney's murals as the main decorative feature. These, in subtle, warm colours, depict imaginary classical ruins, buildings and architectural details. The pronounced architectural element of Mooney's style is particularly apt for The Merrion's Georgian interior.

After attending the University of Ulster, Mooney studied at Brighton Polytechnic, followed by a Post Graduate Degree at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. His work has been widely exhibited in both one-man and group exhibitions at galleries including The Solomon Gallery, Dublin; Waterman Fine Art, London; Theo Waddington Fine Art, London; The Royal Academy, London and The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. Mooney's work has also been exhibited in Boston, Barcelona, Toronto and Johannesburg. Mooney is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Richard Ford Award, Royal Academy, London and the George Campbell Memorial Grant. His work is included in many important private and corporate collections in Ireland, Britain, Spain, the USA, Canada and Hong Kong.

Paul Henry
Paul Henry (1876 - 1958) was born in Belfast, where he later attended the Belfast School of Art. He went to Paris to study in 1898, exposing himself to a more abstract approach to painting. He married fellow artist Grace Henry and they initially lived in London, eventually returning to Ireland where he continued to paint until he eventually lost his eyesight. In 1951 he wrote his autobiography An Irish Portrait, which was reprinted in 1988.

The artist’s style owes a lot to the muted palette, the flattened space and the emphasis on abstract pictorial values found in the work of James McNeill Whistler, in whose studio he studied. Killary Harbour (located in the Front Hall) clearly shows this abstract approach. Henry fused this with Irish nationalistic sentiments of the 1920s and the ‘30s which celebrated the people and the landscape of the west of Ireland. Fishermen on the Beach (Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud) shows how the artist simplified his subjects and imbued peasant life with an austere dignity.

Nathaniel Hone
Nathaniel Hone (1831 - 1917) was born in Dublin and studied engineering at Trinity College, practicing it briefly. When he took up painting in 1853 Hone moved to France, where he lived for seventeen years. He became an integral part of the Barbizon School, painting alongside Millet, Harpignes, Daubigny and Corot, and sharing their interest in capturing outdoor light and weather conditions. On his return to Ireland he lived a quiet, affluent life painting the area near his home in Malahide, County Dublin.

Harbour View shows Hone’s fondness for intimate, uneventful scenes with a low horizon line, allowing the drama of the picture to centre on the brilliance of the sky.
Mainie Jellet
Mainie Jellett (1897 - 1944) was born in Dublin into a prosperous professional background. After attending art school in Dublin she went on to study in England and then in Paris, where she came into contact with Cubism. She was one of the few Irish artists of the period to embrace complete abstraction and, on her return to Dublin in 1923, exhibited some of the first abstract paintings to be seen in the country. Over the following two decades she was influential in encouraging modernism, her efforts culminating in the formation in 1943 of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, an annual exhibition which provided a public showcase for artists who were pursuing modernist tendencies.

Jellett gradually retreated from complete abstraction, reintroducing figures and objects into her work. In Madonna and Child she used bright colours and the rhythm of bold interlocking curves to give new life to an otherwise familiar religious subject. Seated Nude shows her exuberant use of serpentine forms and the upbeat expressiveness that is characteristic of her work.

Sir John Lavery
Sir John Lavery (1856-1941) was born in Belfast and grew up in Scotland. He studied in France where he was heavily influenced by late French Realism with its typical green-grey tonality. Later, as he became a fashionable portrait painter in London, his brushwork became freer but also coarser.

His second wife Hazel, is remembered for her close association with Michael Collins, whom Lavery painted on his death bed.
Louis le Brocquy
Louis le Brocquy (1916 - 2012), born to a prominent Dublin family of Belgian descent, was probably the most cosmopolitan Irish painter of his generation. Largely self-taught, he spent much time in France and London. In the post-war years he mixed with the English avant-garde; Francis Bacon was one of his close personal friends. At first a traditionalist, Le Brocquy later adopted a Cubist-influenced style.

He later became famous for his series of portraits of W.B. Yeats, Beckett, Lorca, Joyce and others. Le Brocquy enjoyed many international honours, including a prize at the Venice Biennale and a large retrospective exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
William Leech
Born in Dublin, Leech attended art school there before continuing his studies in Paris in 1901. He lived in Brittany from 1903 to 1916, finally settling in England, although he continued to exhibit paintings in Dublin. Gardens, and especially the painting of plants or flowers, were subjects to which he frequently returned throughout his career.

Jack B. Yeats
Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957) was the poet, W.B. Yeats', younger brother and the son of the great portraitist John Butler Yeats. Jack B. Yeats is today regarded as Ireland's greatest painter. A lack of any formal art training, a bold technique and a brilliant use of colour gave rise to his reputation as a visionary and an original artist. The Hour of Sleep (1951) which hangs in the Front Hall, is almost a self portrait. It was painted towards the end of Yeats' life and shows how he is preparing himself for his death.
Roderic O'Conor
Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940) was an unusual and highly gifted painter. Until recently, however, little was known about his life. A cultivated man, he spent many years in France where he became friends with Gaugin.

He admired Gauguin's work and was influenced by his style. His paintings are now much sought after by both private and public collectors. Church Chailly en Biere (1932), Red Rocks and Sea (1898), Bowl of Fruit (1926), Bowl of Roses, Roses Thé and Orchards and Mountains (1913), hang in the O'Conor Room at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

Mary Swanzy
Mary Swanzy (1882-1978) was born in Dublin and, although she travelled extensively throughout her life, she was based there until 1926 when she moved to London. She initially went to art school in Dublin, but went on to study in Paris, where she was attracted by various aspects of French art, evolving a personal approach that was strongly influenced by Cubism, Orphism and later by Surrealism.

Her paintings, like many of those in The Merrion Hotel, have Mediterranean subjects that were directly inspired by her visits to the South of France. The bright colours and beautifully patterned faceted surfaces of those works are bound together by bold arcs and swirls, giving them a tremendous sense of exuberance. She claimed an aspect of Cubism but has given it a rhythmic lyricism that is all her own.

William Scott
Although William Scott (1913-1989) was born in Scotland and was raised in Northern Ireland, he made his initial reputation in London, where he lived for most of his adult life. Throughout his career his paintings have revolved around simple still life subjects, mostly kitchen implements like pans, plates, glasses and cutlery, but these have been invested with an austere timelessness and monumentality, such as in Still Life with Pots and Pan.

These early figurative paintings – Mother & Child and The Family – owe a debt to Picasso in the shaping of the figures but a sense of dislocation of separateness and desolation is implicit – as if World War II and nuclear weapons threatened the existence of society and of family life.

The taut surfaces of Frying Pan, Funnel, Eggs & Lemons show Scott’s early concern for spatial tension which was to become a dominant feature of all his work. Later paintings become more abstract, particularly after he came in contact with the American abstract expressionism in the 1950s. However, the concise, emblematic shapes of Dream Series show an unmistakable and distinctive style based on simplified shapes and subtle shifts of light. Interestingly, these are the only serial paintings ever carried out by Scott and in this respect are unique.

Pauline Bewick

Pauline Bewick was raised on a small farm in Co. Kerry, Ireland. Her mother Harry brought her two daughters to Ireland in the late 30's leaving Northumberland, England. Following their time in Kerry, they went on to live in Wales and then England once again, moving from progressive school to school, living in a caravan, a houseboat, a railway carriage, a workman's hut, a gate lodge and, later in a Dublin city house.

Bewick started to paint at the age of two and has continued throughout her life. On turning 70, Pauline donated 500 pieces of her life’s work to the Irish Nation. The Seven Ages Collection represents each decade and facet of a woman’s life, and is on display in Waterford and Kerry.

Bewick's Path Moorea, a painting from her travels in the South Pacific, can be viewed in the lower Drawing Room.

Art Afternoon Tea is served in the Georgian Drawing Rooms daily.  Click here for more information, or to make a booking call  01 6030600 .


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