Jump to Footer

Art Museum Opens "Irish Drawings of James Fitzgerald (1965-1971)" Exhibition

PLATTSBURGH, NY (September 19, 2007) This academic year, the Plattsburgh State Art Museum will present a series of shows featuring various aspects of the museum's permanent collection. In addition to offering remarkable exhibitions, this schedule will serve as a visual explanation of the scope of the museum's offerings.

On Sept. 29, 2007, Plattsburgh State Art Museum will open an exhibition of the "Irish Drawings of James Fitzgerald (1965-1971)."This material was given to the museum in 1991 by Ed and Anne Hubert, New England collectors and art patrons. It represents a critical body of work in the artist's production.

Fitzgerald was born in Milton, Mass. in 1899. He studied at the Massachusetts School of Art from 1919 to 1923 and at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School from 1923 to 1924. Between 1923 and 1928, he sailed on fishing ships and freighters, eventually settling in Monterey, Calif., where he established a studio and became associated with a group which included John Cage, Martha Graham, E.F. Ricketts, and John Steinbeck.

From 1936 to 1942, Fitzgerald taught painting in California, and, in 1944, moved to Monhegan, Maine, a location he had first visited in 1923. From 1944 to 1971, he worked primarily at Monhegan, making annual trips to Mount Katahdin.

During the last six years of his life, from 1965 to 1971, Fitzgerald made five extended trips to Ireland, where he produced a large and integrated body of work, dealing with themes of Irish life and his own aesthetic and moral concerns. This material creates a summation of Fitzgerald's art. It incorporates seven visual and narrative themes: The Bow Wave; the Aran Rowers; Sarah Spinning and Feeding Chickens; Irish Children; Dancing Girls of Aran; Launching the Curragh; and Aran Rowers Portrait Studies. The dominant idea in the exhibition is the Aran Rowers, which becomes a unifying metaphor and a constant. The studies for the rowers were eventually to end up in a large monumental canvas of which only the final preliminary study was achieved. This is in the Plattsburgh collection and gives direction to the exhibition.

In addition to the "Irishness" present in the show, we see the main characteristics of the Fitzgerald style clearly defined a delicate balance between story and abstraction, the strength of the gesture, and the authority of the brush, as well as a sure and clean definition of the subject and the structure of the work.

Fitzgerald died suddenly on the island of Arranmore, County Donegal, Ireland, in 1971.

Following the Plattsburgh exhibition, the material will travel to County Donegal, Ireland for a special exhibition at the Letterkenny Arts Centre located at Central Library, Oliver Plunkett Road in Letterkenny.

Please join us for the opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Burke Gallery, Myers Fine Arts Building.

All works in the exhibition are the gifts of Edgar and Anne Hubert.

Back to top