These works come from two of the more prominent female Irish artists, especially in terms of abstract art, Mainie Jellett (1897 – 1944) and Evie Hone (1894 – 1955). They met while studying at Westminster School of Art, and in 1923 together they staged one of the first abstract painting exhibitions in Ireland, taking place at the Society of Dublin Painters. The initial response from the critics was not too favorable, as they cited a lack of “representational art,” but over time their judgements softened, and eventually they commended Jellett as an important artistic bridge between European and Irish art. In 1926 at the Dublin Radical Club, WB Yeats opened one of her exhibitions. She continued to show, including abroad at Paris, Versailles, Brussels, London, and Amsterdam. And Hone would continue her abstract creations into the 1940s when she then transitioned to stained glass art and created one her more famous works, Crucifixion and Last Supper windows for the Eton Chapel in Windsor.
Ater a close inspection, on the reverse of the Jellett painting, a patch was found from a previous restoration. The work also suffers from expansion and contraction, as well as a dirt contaminate layer, which is not too surprising as the paint film has a great “texture” quality to it. The Hone painting has issues of cupping, where the canvas has contracted faster than the paint film, causing the paint to lift. These areas will be consolidated and the painting as a whole will be carefully cleaned. Stay tuned for more . . .