Mary Swanzy HRHA

Mary Swanzy was born in Dublin to an affluent family. She studied painting initially at May Manning's (1853-1930) studio and modelling under John Hughes (1950-2009). She first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1905 and continued to do so for the following ten years. She had moved to Paris by 1906 to continue her artistic training and studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi. During this time she was exposed to the famous patron, Gertrude Steins, collection of modern art and the work of Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) remained a prevalent influence on her style throughout her career.

She returned to Dublin and exhibited regularly. She showed her work at the Salon des Independants, becoming a committee member in 1920 and at the Beaux Arts. She travelled extensively and painted landscapes from her various trips. Cezanne and Gauguin remained her greatest influences, as well as her deep admiration for the work of Sandro Botticelli (c.1445-1510). Her influences sum up her rather eclectic style in her innate classicism, her bright use of colour and varieties of light combined with an enduring Cubist influence. Her innovation and oeuvre has been reevaluated and elevated in recent years. Her level of achievement, world travel and original thinking is unmatched in Irish art according to IMMA who champion her as a Modern Irish Master.

Her work has been exhibited alongside Marc Chagall (1887-1985) and William Scott (1913-1989). She was made an honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1949. She was celebrated with a major retrospective of her work in 1968 at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
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