Edited by : Eimear O’Connor
Publication Date 24th, June, 2009
Irish artist Seán Keating (1889-1977) was a controversial and provocative figure in the quest for national identity in the early years of the twentieth century. He was a member and former President of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Art, and his professional life spanned seventy years during, which time he was renowned at home and abroad for his ability to paint forceful images that were at once emblematic of his own cultural and political nationalism and analogous to that of the nation at large.
Keating was a keen cultural commentator with a wry view of contemporary developments, evidenced in his work as an artist. When afforded the opportunity, Keating published and broadcast his challenging thoughts on a series of subjects including bad art criticism, snobbery in art, the consequences of governmental lack of support for the arts, and the negative aspects of consumerism and greed.
Although Keating’s paintings survive, his stimulating contribution to the discourse on the development of Irish culture through articles and broadcasts has been, to date, forgotten. Seán Keating in Context: Responses to Culture and Politics in Post-Civil War Ireland offers, for the first time, a comprehensive compilation and contextual analysis of Keating’s articles and broadcasts between 1924 and 1972. The book examines Keating’s thoughts on culture, politics, economics and several other issues in the context of his both his artistic output and the social conditions of the time. In doing so, the narrative serves to better describe the extent of Keating’s contribution to Irish art and to public life. Moreover, given the present economic conditions in Ireland and further afield, the content of Keating’s articles and broadcasts is prophetical and poignant.
Thus the book offers a new perspective on the life and work of Seán Keating which should appeal to students, collectors, art historians and gallery owners alike.