Evie Hone remaining Stations of Cross on display in Galway museum
Gardaí still investigating theft of six from south Galway
Galway City Museum director Eithne Verling during the installation of the Evie Hone exhibition at the museum. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy
Four months after the work of Irish artist Evie Hone was targeted in a theft from a south Galway church, much of her work for that Stations of the Cross series is being exhibited by Galway City Museum.
The museum says that its display of 14 black-and-white sketches, 14 colour studies and one example of the finished Stations of the Cross from Kiltullagh church marks the first time that much of Hone’s entire body of work for that project has been exhibited together since its conception in a Dublin studio.
Gardaí are still investigating the theft of six of the 14 finished gouache studies from the Church of St Peter and Paul, Kiltullagh, near Athenry, in late June. The 14 stations had been commissioned by Edmond Blake for the church in the mid 1940s.
The eight remaining stations were removed and placed in safe- keeping after the robbery, but Kiltullagh parish priest Fr Martin McNamara agreed to provide one piece to the museum for this exhibition, which opens today.
The 14 preliminary black-and-white sketches by Hone – six of which would mirror the stolen gouache pieces – are on loan from the O’Malley collection in the University of Limerick. The artist’s next stage, 14 colour studies, had been acquired by the Loughrea Heritage and Development Association, which has also given permission for them to be displayed.
Museum director Eithne Verling has paid tribute to both organisations and to Fr McNamara for lending the final station among the eight which Kiltullagh still has. Ms Verling said the exhibition “centres on the process the artist engaged in” when, in 1946, she was commissioned to make a Stations of the Cross for Kiltullagh church.
It also sought to “highlight again the theft of these valuable objects” and the need for a “fresh approach to ensuring the security of our portable heritage”.
One of a family of painters, Hone was born in Dublin in 1894 and studied in London at the Westminster School of Art and in Paris. While in Paris, she worked for a year with painter and writer Andre Lhote and abstract artist Albert Gleizes. She progressed from Cubism to Expressionism in the 1930s, exploring religious themes, and engaging in painting, sculpture and stained glass.
She is regarded as one of the founders of the modern art movement in Ireland and her work is displayed in Ireland, Britain and North America.