Phelan Gibb

An Irish Fauve Discovered

10 - 26 Nov 2011

Phelan Gibb (1870-1948) was a fringe figure among the White Stag painters. He exhibited infrequently with them but was in Dublin on two notable occasions, the first, in 1913, when his one-man show – organized with the help of Count Markievicz and Oliver St John Gogarty – was closed by the police and the paintings confiscated.  (He did not get them back until 1933).

The second was his commission to paint a portrait of the dancer, Jacqueline Robinson, who was a friend of Mainie Jellett and had close associations with Basil Rakoczi and Kenneth Hall.

Phelan Gibb was a generation older than the other White Stag painters.  He was the same age as Jack Yeats and both men were invited to contribute to the Armory Show in 1913, in New York,  the only Irish artists included in that show.  Before that he had been a friend of Matisse, Braque and Gertrude Stein, who had a high opinion of his painting.  The opening of his one-man show in 1913, in Paris, was attended by a record crowd of 1500 people.

He was one of the artists adopted by Lucy Wertheim, who also gave vital backing to the young Kenneth Hall and his friend, Basil Rakoczi.  She met him first when he was in his sixties and engaged in a revival of interest in his work.

This is the first one-man show since the retrospective that followed his death in 1948.