Have you heard of Irish painter Mary Swanzy?

While visiting Cork, Ireland, an Irish friend introduced me to the Crawford Art Gallery. They were having an exhibit of the work of Mary Swanzy, an Irish painter (1882-1978) of the 20th Century. According to Wikipedia, Swanzy was noted for painting in many styles, including cubism, and was one of Ireland’s first abstract painters.

Even though some of her work reminded me of the style of Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso, I had never even heard of her. I decided this was probably because she was a woman and this made her talent to be deemed of less importance during the less-enlightened 20th century. Luckily, Irish artists of the 21st century decided it was time for her work to be shown again to the public. It was exhibited first at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. This was the first retrospective of her work in 50 years! The exhibit ran from October 2018 to February 2019. From there, some of her work came to Ireland’s second city, Cork, for public viewing there. Here is some of what I saw there.

This piece was titled Cubist Landscape and was completed by Swanzy in 1908.

This piece, reminiscent of the work of Paul Gauguin, is titled Samoan Scene, and was completed by Swanzy in 1924.

This was titled Irish potato famine and was completed in 1942 by Swanzy.

This piece is titled Strange World and was completed by Swanzy in 1960.

Isn’t it interesting to see how much Swanzy’s style changed over the decades? She really liked to challenge herself as a painter! I am glad I discovered her work and wanted to share this newfound knowledge with you, dear reader. I hope you like art as much as I do.


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