The World of Performance: Dance, Theatre & Song

The World of Performance

10 August - 8 December 2013
Room 1, admission free.


An exhibition dedicated to the world of ballet, theatre and opera spanning the period 1880s to the 1940s will open on Saturday 10 August. It features images, in different media, of performers in costume, by Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, as well as portraits of well-known Irish actors and singers, by Seán Keating, William Orpen and Muriel Brandt. All the works in the show are drawn from the Gallery’s collection.

During regular visits to the Paris Opéra in the 1880s, Degas recorded numerous images of ballet dancers behind the scenes, limbering up or resting during rehearsals. His colourful pastel, Two Ballet Dancers in a Dressing Room (c.1880) is included in the display, alongside Pablo Picasso’s graphite drawing, Two Seated Dancers of Les Ballets Russes, Monte Carlo (1925). A portrait of the Russian ballet dancer, Elena Annenkova, by the Realist painter II’ya Repin, also features in the exhibition.

Seán Keating’s portrait of actor and comedian, Jimmy O’Dea, dressed in the costume of a cavalier, is a recent addition to the Gallery’s collection. In this portrait, Keating pays homage to the seventeenth-century Dutch artist, Frans Hals. Micheál MacLiammóir, the well-known Irish actor and co-founder of the Gate, is depicted in a multi-portrait by Muriel Brandt.

The exhibition also looks at the audience as subject with examples by Walter Sickert, Noctes Ambrosianae (1906) and Harry Kernoff, Olympia Theatre from Top Box (1935).

The exhibition continues until 8 December 2013. It is curated by Niamh MacNally, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawing, and author of the accompanying brochure (€2, Gallery Shop). A programme of associated talks and a study morning will take place in October.