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Yeats, John Butler - National Gallery of Ireland

John Butler Yeats

The tragic death on the Lusitania a hundred years ago of Sir Hugh Lane, a major figure in the Dublin and London art worlds, is marked by a display of art and archival material at the National Gallery of Ireland. This display aims to give a more rounded view of Lane’s life and personality, relationship to the literary world of his aunt, Lady Gregory, and friendship with artist, Sarah Cecilia Harrison. It also shows the impact he continues to have on acquisitions by the National Gallery of Ireland.

With his slight physical figure, refined manners and tendency to undertake projects for the public good with great single-mindedness, Lane was often treated with suspicion at the time. His self-acquired knowledge of art and good business acumen, revealed by his paintings, account book and letters, made him an independent picture dealer and restorer at the age of twenty-three. 
Lane organised Old Master and contemporary Irish exhibitions, famously opened the first Municipal Gallery of Modern Art and gained portrait commissions for 

William Orpen and Antonio Mancini. He supported the architect Edwin Lutyens and, as Honorary Director of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, assembled the ‘Michaelis Collection’ of Dutch Masters. From 1904 he was a Governor and Guardian of the NGI, knighted in 1909 for services to art and appointed Director in 1914. In his lifetime he presented twenty-four paintings. The Lane Bequest of forty-one outstanding Old Masters and British 18th century portraits, plus bronze sculptures, was a literal snapshot of what he owned at the time in Lindsey House, Chelsea.
A further surprise is how many significant works, from across the spectrum of European and Irish art, have been acquired since with the Lane Fund. Until the late 1950s, this matched or exceeded the public funds available and is still active today. (17.10.2015 - 17.01.2016) (Text: National Galler of Ireland)