It Took a Century: Women Artists and the RHA

RHA 200 showing at National Gallery of Ireland

1 Jul, 2023 - 22 Oct, 2023

It took a century to elect the first woman artist.
It took another century to elect the first woman President.
It took a century to achieve equitable representation in the membership.

This National Gallery of Ireland/Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts collaboration showcases women’s membership of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts from the election in 1923 of the first woman member, Sarah Purser, to the first woman President, Dr. Abigail O’Brien, in 2018. As part of the RHA bicentenary celebrations, this exhibition showing at the National Gallery of Ireland, combines an historic survey of the past 100 years together with a presentation of work by current woman members of the Academy.

While half of the artists represented in the exhibition are living, the other half span the decades from the 1920s. The exhibition comprises works in a variety of media, and involves an unprecedented use of Room 21 at the National Gallery of Ireland, in which Irish art from the late 17th to early 19th century is usually displayed.

The constituent works are drawn almost exclusively from the collections of the National Gallery of Ireland and the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts. The only exceptions to this are the small number of artists not represented in either collection. Examples of the work of this small group of artists are on loan from other public collections in Ireland or are new works.

An exhibition organised by the National Gallery of Ireland and The Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts

Curators: Dara McElligott Curatorial Fellow and Dr Brendan Rooney, Head Curator (National Gallery of Ireland); Patrick T. Murphy, RHA Director and Kate McBride RHA Registrar Collection and Exhibitions.

For further information see HERE

Images: 01. Janet Mullarney, Earthly Creatures 2, 2008, Wood, paper, pigment, 125 x 145 x 16cm, RHA Collection.

02. Eilis O’Connell RHA, Beat Them At Their Own Game, 1984, Steel, handmade paper, wood, palm beard, feathers, slate, paint and ink, 172 x 227 x 27.5cm, RHA Collection.

03. Una Sealy RHA, Cartoonist City, Winter – Portrait of Tom Matthews, 2013, Oil on canvas, 120 x 120cm, RHA Collection.

04. Carolyn Mulholland RHA, Portrait of John Healy, 1992, Bronze, 41 x 28 x 7cm, RHA Collection.

05. Brigid Ganly, Portrait of Ethel Gorman, 1941, Oil on canvas, 50 x 40cm, RHA Collection.




  • Date:

    1 Jul, 2023 - 22 Oct, 2023
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