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Head of a Woman
Photo credit: National Museums Northern Ireland

Head of a Woman

Mainie Jellett (1897–1944)

National Museums Northern Ireland

Irish painter, stage designer, writer, lecturer, and administrator, one of the most important pioneers of modern art in her country. She was born in Dublin, where she studied at the Metropolitan School of Art before spending two years (1917–19) at the Westminster School of Art in London, where Sickert was among her teachers. In 1920 she went to Paris, where she studied with Lhote and then with Gleizes (along with her friend Evie Hone) and she returned to visit Gleizes regularly until 1932. By 1923 she was painting in a completely abstract, Cubist-inspired style (Decoration, 1923, NG, Dublin,). Her work in this vein prompted derision when exhibited at the Dublin Painters' Society, and she devoted much of her energy—through essays and lectures—to trying to overcome conservative attitudes in Ireland, which was then culturally isolated.

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)


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