"Portrait of Ruth Shine" (03:10)
Hugh Lane wanted to bring modern European art to Dublin audiences. At his death, it was unclear where his bequeathed works should be located. In 1907, he commissioned Antonio Mancini's portrait of his sister Ruth.
Establishing an Irish Art Tradition (03:21)
Lane was born near Cork City and raised in England. Dublin experienced cultural growth in the early 20th century, influenced by a revival of Irish language and literature. Lane wanted to parallel this movement in the visual arts.
Guildhall Exhibition (03:49)
Lane showed a collection of Irish paintings in London, inspiring his later interest in impressionist art. Learn about his talent as an art collector and dealer, including discovering and selling a Titian portrait for £30,000 in 1911.
Art Dealership Career (04:48)
Lane apprenticed with London dealer Martin Colnaghi before becoming independent. Friends raised money to commission John Singer Sargent to paint his portrait. Sarah Cecilia Harrison also painted him and supported his vision for a Dublin art gallery.
A Particular Aesthetic Vision (03:05)
Lane tried to control his friend's personal appearances, including his aunt Lady Augusta Gregory. Learn about their relationship and hear W.B. Yeats' shifting impression of Lane after his arrival from London.
"The Playboy of the Western World" (04:12)
In 1907, Lane began acquiring works by French impressionists. J.M. Synge's play, supported by W.B. Yeats and Gregory, caused riots at the Abbey Theater by nationalists who perceived it as insulting Irish culture.
Ill-Matched Parents (04:30)
Lane commissioned a series of portraits of prominent Irish people, many by William Orpen. His father was among the subjects. They have a dramatized discussion about his separation from Lane's mother and Lane's career as an art dealer.
Harcourt Street Gallery (05:05)
In 1908, Lane opened Dublin's municipal gallery, with free public access—drawing 170,000 visitors in the first year. In a dramatized interview, Orpen discusses Lane's personal frugality and tendency to spend money on his friends.
St. Stephens Green Proposal (04:56)
Lane was knighted in 1909 but suffered anxiety and depression. In 1912, he tried to convince Dublin Corporation to build a permanent municipal gallery, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Lord Ardilaun rejected the idea.
Liffey River Bridge Proposal (06:23)
Lane proposed a gallery designed by Lutyens and spanning the river in Dublin. Public opposition included prejudice against his occupation as an art dealer, suspicion of modern art, and protests against the site itself.
Modern National Gallery Political Opposition (09:00)
As support for Lane's project grew, Catholic and nationalist business leader William Martin Murphy influenced Dublin Corporation against Lane. In a dramatized meeting, Murphy criticizes Lane for prioritizing culture over Dublin's housing crisis and the labor struggle.
Modern National Gallery Ultimatum (04:05)
During the debate over Lane's gallery, labor unions led a strike in Dublin. Lane's supporters pressured Dublin Corporation to commit or lose the works. The city council voted against a gallery; Lane removed them to London in 1913.
Lane's Will (04:12)
Lane brought his collection to the London National Gallery as a message to Dublin. When WWI broke out, the art market crashed. Lane added a codicil bequeathing the works back to Ireland.
National Gallery of Ireland Position (03:09)
Lane became director, gaining credibility while continuing to deal art. Needing money, he sold a Titian to an American collector and planned to travel to the U.S. to expand his market.
Lane's Death and Legacy (04:25)
Lane died on the Lusitania in 1915. In 1933, the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art opened on Dublin’s Parnell Square. Hear W.B. Yeats' impression of Lane's collection.
Lane's Bequest and Controversy (07:46)
The codicil bequeathing Lane’s collection to Ireland was signed but not witnessed; the London National Gallery interpreted this as legally invalid. Learn about the ownership debate. Currently, most paintings hang in Dublin; a small group travels between the two cities.
Credits: Citizen Lane (01:18)
Credits: Citizen Lane
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