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Farewell to Ireland by Patrick Hennessy

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Farewell to Ireland by Patrick Hennessy

- Item No.

This poignant and evocative painting is by famed Irish artist Patrick Hennessy

Key Features

  • This poignant and evocative painting is by famed Irish artist Patrick Hennessy
  • In this materpiece President John F. Kennedy ends his momentous trip to Ireland in June of 1963
  • Patrick Hennessy's paintings are represented in a large number of public and private art collections
  • This historical oil on canvas is signed Hennessy in the lower right
  • Titled Farewell to Ireland, this monumental painting depicts a sense of hope and inspiration
  • Canvas: 39" wide x 49" high; Frame: 47" wide x 57" high

Item Details

  • Width:
    C: 39; F: 47 Inches
  • Height:
    C: 49: F: 57 Inches
  • Period:
    20th Century
  • Origin:
  • Subject:
  • Artist:
    Hennessy, Patrick
Patrick Hennessy, R.H.A.

1915-1980  Irish  

Farewell to Ireland

Signed "Hennessy" lower rightOil on canvas

In this poignant and evocative painting by Irish artist Patrick Hennessy, President John F. Kennedy ends his momentous trip to Ireland in June of 1963, reaching out to outstretched adoring hands as he departed aboard the presidential plane Air Force One. This exceptional portrait calls to mind not only the tremendous potential and goodwill that Kennedy represented in the United States and abroad, but the sudden and tragic way in which that potential was extinguished. It has been said that the work of Patrick Hennessy derives its power from a sense of postwar angst, but in this portrait, the late president appears to be buoyed by a sense of hope in the arms of the adoring crowd reaching up toward him. It is possible that he painted more than one work in connection with Kennedy's visit, as a second work, titled The Farewell Roses, was exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1964.

As the first Roman Catholic president of the United States, John Kennedy was a national hero in Ireland, which his great-grandfather had left for a better life on the other side of the Atlantic during the Great Famine in 1848. Huge crowds greeted Kennedy when he paid a three-day visit to Ireland in June 1963, and pictures of him drinking tea with one of his cousins in the family farmhouse in County Wexford cemented his iconic status. This was the last trip that Kennedy would ever make to the land of his ancestors. The visit was a popular and diplomatic success, and when he left Ireland, he promised the crowds "I will come back in the spring," but it never happened. Five months later, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Hennessy, a still-life, landscape and trompe l'oeil painter who was one of Ireland's best-known realist artists, was born in County Cork in 1915. Sent to Scotland to be raised by relatives, he won a scholarship to Dundee College of Art where he was taught drawing and fine art painting by James McIntosh Patrick and met the artist H. Robertson Craig. Hennessy was a gifted student and was awarded a further scholarship which allowed him to study in Paris and Rome. On his return, he continued his studies at the Hospitalfield Advanced Art College in Arbroath. In 1939, he exhibited a self-portrait and a still-life at the Royal Scottish Academy, whereupon he returned to Ireland and began life as a professional painter, dividing his time between Cork and Dublin. In 1941, he showed at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and joined the Dublin Painters Group. Such was his mastery of oil painting technique that he soon began to sell his paintings. His style and use of color proved irresistible to art critics who found the under-stated realism and semi-Gothic mood of his work fascinating.

Hennessy exhibited regularly in Dublin from 1941 to 1970, submitting more than 100 paintings to the RHA, including still-life, portrait art and landscape painting, and he was elected an associate and full member of the Academy in 1948 and 1949, respectively. A retrospective of Hennessy's paintings was held at the Dublin Painters Gallery in 1951, and he also exhibited in Munster and Cork. In addition, he traveled throughout Kerry and Connemara, Galway, painting landscapes. In 1956, Hennessy had his first solo exhibition in London, displaying nearly 40 paintings, including several portraits. In 1957, the Ritchie Hendriks Gallery staged an exhibition of his flower paintings. More shows followed in Dublin, Chicago and Cork. Hennessy also continued to travel abroad, making regular visits to Paris, Normandy, the Dordogne, as well as Belgium, Holland and Spain. He also toured Italy and Greece, and spent several of his final years in Morocco to protect him against winter pneumonia. He died in 1980 after falling ill in Portugal.

Circa 1963 

Canvas: 49" high x 39" wide
Frame: 57" high x 47" wide

Private Collection, Iowa, USA
Private Collection, Dublin, Republic of Ireland 

Patrick Hennessy's paintings are represented in a large number of public and private art collections, including:
University College, Dublin, Ireland
Hugh Lane Art Gallery, Charlemont House, Dublin, Ireland
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, West Dublin
National Gallery of Ireland
Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland
Limerick City Art Gallery, Limerick, Ireland
Limerick University National Self-Portrait Collection, Ireland
Painting by William Bouguereau

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