Mary Swanzy HRHA (1882 – 1978)

  • Artist
    Mary Swanzy HRHA
  • Title
  • Date
  • Dimensions
    44.5 × 37cm
  • Medium
    Oil on board
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented by The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland

Born in Dublin the daughter of Sir Henry Rosborough Swanzy, an opthalmic surgeon, Mary Swanzy was educated at Alexandra College and at schools in France and Germany. Returning to Ireland she attended classes in May Manning’s studio, where John B. Yeats occasionally taught, and at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art.

In 1905 Swanzy followed the well trodden artistic path to Paris. Initially attending Delacluse’s studio for women, she later studied with the popular portrait painter Antonio de la Grandara and took classes at La Grande Chaumiere and Colarossi’s. Although Swanzy worked diligently at these ateliers, her greatest influence came from the example of Modernist artists, including Cézanne and Picasso, whose work she encountered in the collection of the famous patron of the avant-garde Gertrude Stein.

The influence of Cubism, both of Picasso and Braque and later Cubists including Delaunay, Gleizes and Lhote, can be seen in this abstracted image of trees. Although many of Swanzy’s paintings are undated, the style and palette of this work suggests that it was executed during the 1910s when she spent a period painting near St. Tropez in the south of France.

Written by Riann Coulter

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