Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy - Portrait

Vera Klute (b.1981), 'Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (b.1939), Social Justice Campaigner'.Oil on cotton, 105 x 78cm. NGI Commission, 2014. NGI.2014.9. © National Gallery of Ireland. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.


PRESS RELEASE: 31 July 2014 

A portrait of Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy (‘Sr Stan’), social justice campaigner, has entered the Portrait Collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.

The portrait, by Vera Klute, a graduate of Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, was commissioned by the Gallery for its National Portrait Collection. It is now on public view in the Millennium Wing.

Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said: “This portrait of Sr. Stan is a fitting tribute to an individual who has contributed significantly to our awareness of those individuals who are most marginalised in Irish society. The picture is also a welcome addition to the National Portrait Collection which has been greatly enhanced in recent years to showcase the work of practising artists.”

The National Portrait Collection was established in 1884 by Henry Doyle (second director of the Gallery, 1869-92) to recognise ‘eminent Irishmen and Irish women…whose lives serve in any way to illustrate her history or throw light on her social or literary or artistic records’.

Dr. Brendan Rooney, Curator of Irish Art in the National Gallery, said: “The Gallery’s collaboration with Sr Stan and Vera Klute is wholly in keeping with Henry Doyle’s pioneering vision of a portrait collection that celebrates Irish endeavour and creativity.”

The Painting
Vera Klute (b.1981)
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (b.1939), Social Justice Campaigner
Oil on cotton, 105 x 78cm
NGI Portrait Commission, 2014

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (b.1939), Social Justice Campaigner
Born in Lispole, Co. Kerry, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (‘Sr Stan’), joined the congregation of Religious Sisters of Charity in 1958. She was appointed in 1974 first chair of the National Committee on Pilot Schemes to Combat Poverty, and in 1985 trans-national co-ordinator of the European rural anti-poverty programme. Since the early 1980s, she has campaigned on behalf of Dublin’s homeless, establishing Focus Point, now Focus Ireland, in 1985. She is also the founder of The Sanctuary (1998), the Immigrant Council of Ireland and Young Social Innovators (both in 2001).

Vera Klute (b.1981, Salzkotten, Germany)
A graduate of Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Vera Klute has held solo exhibitions and contributed to group shows both in Ireland and abroad and has received several awards. Her work was also commissioned by and added to the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland (NSPCI, University of Limerick) in 2012.

The National Portrait Collection
Portraiture has always been central to the National Gallery’s collection. As early as 1872, Henry Doyle (director from 1869-92) proposed the establishment of a national portrait collection within the Gallery. Later, in 1884, this collection was expanded and formally opened on 23 June 1884 to become the ‘Historical and Portrait Gallery. It was described then as a celebration of ‘eminent Irishmen and Irish women… also of statesmen and others who were politically or socially connected with Ireland, or whose lives serve in any way to illustrate her history or throw light on her social or literary or artistic records’. Initially much of the display was made up of prints and engravings, a significant number of which were purchased from the Chaloner Smith Collection in 1887. The collection continues to expand in the spirit of Doyle’s vision, and includes eminent Irish individuals who have contributed to the civic, social, and cultural life of the nation.

Recent additions to the National Portrait Collection
Kevin Abosch, Olwen Fouéré, Bob Geldof and Brian O’Driscoll (2013)
Colin Davidson, Michael Longley (2012)
Jackie Nickerson, Seamus Heaney (2012)
Mick O’Dea RHA, Brian Friel (2010)
Maeve McCarthy RHA, Maeve Binchy (2005)
Louis le Brocquy, Bono (2003)
John Kindness, Gay Byrne (2000)
Tom Ryan PPRHA, TK Whitaker (2002)
James Hanley RHA, Ronnie Delany (2000)
Mark Shields, Mary and Nicholas Robinson (1998)

Artist Vera Klute and Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy at the National Gallery, 31 July 2014.