This section presents a very partial account of Patrick Hennessy’s paintings; partial as large sections of his output have been left out, such as still-life and equestrian studies; and partial as the particular lens of gender and sexuality has been used to frame a specific reading of his images. As this theme has rarely been addressed, the work of his near-contemporaries, Dillon and Rákóczi, has been brought together with Hennessy’s in an attempt to broaden the scope of a wider discussion of queer art in Ireland in the period 1940-60.
When Patrick Hennessy died in 1980 he left behind a substantial estate. Sales of his work in Dublin, London and particularly Chicago had been steady and his prices handsome. By the late 60s Robertson Craig was also doing well commercially so their joint estate was valuable. Hennessy died after a short illness and his will is short – leaving everything to Robertson Craig to take care of. Robertson Craig died three years later leaving their joint estate in trust to the Hennessy-Craig Scholarship at the RHA.
The terms set out in his will indicated that it should ‘be awarded annually to such student of painting, under the age of thirty years … at any college in Ireland … and is deserving of the opportunity of further study… in Ireland or overseas… The scholarship shall be available to students without restriction as to their nationality, sex, colour or religion’. Considering the importance that travel held for both Hennessy and Robertson Craig it is hardly surprising that they wished to equip future generations of artists with the opportunity to leave Ireland and expand their horizons. The Hennessy-Craig scholarship is still the most valuable available to young artists in Ireland today, and forms one of the most important parts of their joint legacy.
- Learn about historical context for Hennessy’s work
- Explore Hennessy’s evolving practice
- Read about conservation work
IMMA’s exhibition re-established Gerda Frömel’s almost twenty-year career by partially recreating her key solo and group exhibitions, emphasising the evolution of her skills and practice, and highlighting the conservation of archival pieces saved by her family.
Throughout the two decades in which she worked, Frömel demonstrated a wide range of skills and talents, ranging from sculpting, modelling, and carving to pencil drawings. The works she exhibited in her lifetime displayed the practice of an artist who continued to change, adapt and evolve. Thankfully, Frömel’s sons carefully preserved and archived most of her work after her death, providing IMMA with the ability to track the progression of her career. With the help of Frömel’s son Killian Schürmann, artist and art conservator Jason Ellis undertook the task of conserving many of Frömel’s archived pieces for IMMA’s exhibition.