Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Hugh Lane Revisited

What a wonderful amenity the Hugh Lane is. I hadn't been there for years so I went up last Tuesday to see the new Sean Scullys and to check out the collection in general. There's a great sense of spaciousness - the paintings are given plenty of room to breathe and they can be enjoyed in isolation from contending images. It's also nice and warm and would make a great sanctuary for cold tramps, but I suspect Barbara Dawson would not countenance any such blots on her escutcheon. I noticed a lot of yawning amongst the sparse attendants. What kind of job is that - sitting around all day. You'd want a very rich inner life.

The permanent collection is very much a mixed bag. There's worthy stuff by Mary Swanzy, Norah McGuinness, Orpen and Leech but do we really need mutiple Ciaran Lennons? Or Brian Maguires? Or anything by Mick Mulcahy. There is a smashing Jack Yeats (There is no Night), and a stark early Le Brocquy - not underivative of Francis Bacon. The Scully room is a bit of a disappointment - only three pieces, two very fine and one, I opine, a dud. The shrine to Bacon is a hoot. Can he really have worked in that chaos. Check out the multiple Krug boxes and note that he was a VAT 69 man as well.

The cafe down in the basement is a step up on your average museum cafe. There's an elaborate menu and waitress service only. There's also a collection of cakes that would do a Viennese emporium proud. It was empty apart from staff when I visited in mid-afternoon.

On the way out it did my heart good to see that heroic bust of Michael Collins by the great Seamus Murphy.