Chicago to showcase 18th century Irish art and culture

<B>Des O’Sullivan </b>looks forward to an exhibition that will celebrate the Irish as artists, collectors, and patrons.

ONE of the most prestigious art institutions of the world will mount an exhibition that will explore Irish art and culture in the 18th century later this year.

The exhibition will be held at the Art Institute of Chicago on St Patrick’s Day and will be titled Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design 1690-1840.

It will be the first exhibition to explore this theme on either side of the Atlantic.

The seeds of the show were first planted by Desmond FitzGerald, the late Knight of Glin.

In his 2007 book Irish Furniture he outlined his vision for a major exhibition of Ireland’s decorative arts of the 18th century to include furniture and bring together common threads from different fields.

The Art Institute Show will expand on the Knight’s vision to include paintings, sculpture and architecture as well as bookbindings, ceramics, glass, furniture, metalwork, musical instruments and textiles.

The heavily-sponsored show will present 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America.

Extraordinary objects from Ireland are scattered in locations from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Portland, Maine, and from Ottawa, in Canada, to San Antonio, in Texas.

Organised thematically throughout six galleries — from portraiture to landscapes, from Dublin to the Irish country house — the exhibition will celebrate the Irish as artists, collectors and patrons.

This seminal show case will open on March 17 and run through to June 7.


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