Tuesday, March 1, 2022

John Lavery: Late 19th Century and Beyond

 March is a very celebratory month. It's Irish-American History Month and Women's History Month. In the way we're all drawn to our ancestry and since I featured women in 2021, this month's blog will be about the Irish-born visual artists. 




It seems we are far more familiar with Irish poets and writers than we are the visual artists in the history of Ireland. In order to make them more known, March Thursdays will feature a different Irish painter moving from 19th Century to present times.





This week is about John Lavery (1856-1941). If his works share the art of the times with other artists, perhaps it's because he was born in the same year as John Singer Sargent or was deeply influenced by Whistler. How can we know who or what influences an artist? Perhaps it was the times since we can see his style evolve.








Lavery and his wife lived through difficult world times. He was an official artist for WW1 and for the Irish War of Independence as well as their Civil War. They were both supporters of Ireland and even made their London home open for the Irish during negotiations of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. 




Sadly, he would suffer the personal loss of his wife to TB just 2 years into their marriage. It was 18 years later, before Lavery would marry again. His second wife, Lady Hazel Lavery, an Irish-American, posed many times for her husband. Most memorably as the figure on the Irish banknotes until Ireland joined the EU and replaced their currency with the Euro.








Below is one of over 400 paintings Lavery made of Lady Hazel Lavery:  

As you follow along, you can see how the dress and post-war era are changing his subjects and the style with the woman's back to the painting instead of a portrait.

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