Dublin Divided: September 1913
Photo: Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane

Dublin Divided: September 1913

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane presents an exhibition marking the centenary of the Dublin Lockout of 1913

When: 26 September 2013 - 2 February 2014
Where: Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
Curator: Margarita Cappock

Admission Free

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane is pleased to present Dublin Divided: September 1913, an exhibition marking the centenary of the Dublin Lockout of 1913.

At the beginning of August 1913, the city of Dublin was on the threshold of a momentous showdown between organised labour led by James Larkin, founder of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, and Dublin’s capitalist entrepreneurs represented by the leading business magnate, Cork-born William Martin Murphy. The divisions between the business elite and the working class, the affluence of certain sectors of Dublin society and the grinding poverty of tenement life were thrown into sharp relief by the Lockout of 1913. Against this backdrop of bitter class conflicts and the rise of organised labour, the debacle continued regarding the establishment of a permanent location in Dublin for a Municipal Gallery to house the art collection first offered to the city by Sir Hugh Lane in the winter of 1904. The drama surrounding the Gallery reached its climax in 1913 when the failure to identify a suitable site forced Hugh Lane to uphold his threat and remove his ‘continental pictures’ to London conceding a pyrrhic victory to the Gallery’s most powerful opponent William Martin Murphy.

A century later, the Hugh Lane Gallery’s collection contains many portraits of the key individuals involved in the Lockout as well as works by artists who became involved in the dispute including William Orpen, who worked in the soup kitchens in Liberty Hall, and Æ George Russell. The exhibition also provides a rich resource of evocative images that depict life in Dublin in the late nineteenth century and first decades of the twentieth century. The exhibition features paintings, sculpture and drawings by artists including John Lavery, Sarah Purser, John and Jack B. Yeats, Casimir Markievicz, Auguste Rodin, Sarah Cecilia Harrison, Maurice MacGonigal and Louis le Brocquy.

Dublin Divided: September 1913 provides an opportunity to reflect on the different agendas of the individuals involved in that momentous and bitter dispute and explore how the history of the Gallery was interwoven with the Lockout. The workers’ leader, James Larkin, though raised in poverty, appreciated art and beauty and sought the cultural as well as economic and social liberation of the manual labourer.

Seán O’Casey, a devoted follower of Larkin all his life, noted that Larkin wanted the rose along with the loaf of bread on a worker’s table. James Larkin supported the Municipal Gallery project, and declared that William Martin Murphy, for his meanness in the matter of Sir Hugh Lane’s offer, would be condemned to keep an art gallery in hell.

An illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition with essays by Margarita Cappock, Helen Carey and Padraig Yeates.

A series of talks and events on the theme of the Lockout will accompany the exhibition. Please see website for details: http://www.hughlane.ie

For further information, please contact:
Margarita Cappock: mcappock.hughlane@dublincity.ie or 01 2225557
Logan Sisley: logan.sisley@dublincity.ie or 01 2225562


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.