Seán Keating: Art, Politics and Building the Irish Nation is an outstanding examination of Keating’s seventy-year working life as an artist, art teacher, broadcaster, and public commentator. Based on extensive research and previously unavailable archival material, it is the first ever full-scale work on one of Ireland’s most well known yet controversial artists, richly illustrated in colour. Offering a comprehensive and well-balanced portrait, and revealing previously unknown insights into his life, O’Connor discusses his difficulties at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, the networks of people he knew – Harry Clarke, William Orpen, Robert Flaherty, Micheál MacLiammóir – the projects he engaged with, and his sometimes self-destructive relationships with those whom he could not respect. This ground-breaking study explores Keating’s expansive career, from his overtly political paintings of the War of Independence, to the artist’s engagement with the Aran Islands and his recording of the industrialisation of the new state, but also his controversial articles and broadcasts in the 1930-40s. Richly illustrated with over 200 colour paintings, sketches, photographs, Seán Keating: Art Politics and Building the Irish Nation will be the definitive work on this hugely respected yet controversial Irish artist for years to come.
- Majestic and authoritative portrait of Sean Keating’s seventy year working life as an artist, broadcaster, & public commentator.
- Richly illustrated in colour with over 200 paintings, sketches, and photographs, many previously unpublished.
‘Defying modernist dogma, Éimear O’Connor makes clear the possibility of Seán Keating maintaining a link with the great artists of the past by developing a skills based practice, yet engaging with contemporary society by creating relevant work that was informed by progressive ideals. Her radical analysis of the life and times of Seán Keating is essential reading for anyone interested in the role of the artist in Irish society today.’ Robert Ballagh
Table of Contents
Introduction: Art in the Age of Construction
Section One: Early Life and Influences c.1889-1919
Chapter One: Early Life in Limerick 1889-1911
Chapter Two: Dublin Made Him: the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and the RHA 1911-1919
Chapter Three: The One Woman
Section Two: Imaging Ireland at Home and Abroad 1920-1939
Chapter Four: Ireland’s Heroes; Nationalism, the Aran Islands and the Man on the Street
Chapter Five: Encouraging Civic Pride; Power, Pageants, Parades and Pavilions 1926-1939
Chapter Six: The Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and the RHA; Trouble, Trouble and more Trouble 1920-1939
Section Three: The Modernity of the Defence of Tradition 1940-1977
Chapter Seven: Courage and Conviction; Art, Politics and the Epoch 1940-1962
Chapter Eight: Tension, Tradition and Modernity 1962-1977
Conclusion: Multiple Perspectives on a Modern Life
About the Author
Éimear O’Connor is Research Associate with TRIARC-Irish Art Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin. She is the author of Seán Keating in Context: Responses to Culture and Politics in Post-Civil War Ireland (2009) and Editor of Irish Women Artists 1800-2009: Familiar but Unknown (2010).