Irish Artist Directory

Mainie Jellett (Irish Artist Directory)

Full Name: Mainie Jellett

Lived: 1897 - 1944

Categories: Watercolour, Cubism, Abstract.

Artist Biography

Mainie Jellett (born Mary Harriet Jellett) began painting in watercolours at the young age of eleven, studying under Sarah Cecilia Harrison and May Manning, before taking classes in Wimereux and Brittany, France, from the age of fourteen. In 1914 she entered the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art where she studied for three years after which in 1917 she moved to the Westminster Art School in London and studied under Walter Sickert. She was awarded the Taylor Scholarship in 1920.

In 1921 Jellett travelled to Paris with Evie Hone, who she had met while at Westminster Art School, where they studied cubism under André Lhote. Jellett later remarked ‘with Lhote I learnt how to use natural forms as a starting point towards the creation of form for its own sake; to use colour with the knowledge of its great potential force, and to produce work based on a knowledge of rhythmical for and organic colour.’ Yet it was to Albert Gleizes Jellett and Hone turned to further their studies with cubism. Becoming his companion workers, the two flourished under Gleizes’ guidance, and it was his influence that lead Jellett to develop her own distinctive cubist style.

Jellett returned to Dublin at various intervals, during which she taught both adults and children privately at Fitzwilliam Square. In 1923 she exhibited two cubist canvases at a Dublin Painters’ exhibition but was met with hostile criticism. However she persisted, exhibiting in Paris and at the Dublin Radical Club where a number of her exhibitions were opened by W.B. Yeats. In 1928 Jellett’s work was represented in the Irish section of the exhibition of art at the Amsterdam Olympic Games.

Having established her work at home, Jellett won the silver gilt medal for Decorative Painting at the 1932 Aontach Tailteann, and lectured at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in the same year. Jellett is best known for her cubist works, yet through out her career she painted both abstractly and figuratively, and was accomplished in both set design and industrial design. Máirín Allen wrote in 1942 ‘Miss Jellett has some of the qualities of an ascetic and an idealist. She has followed her own path despite opposition and misunderstanding… her influence may be one of the most important in bringing our painters back into contact with European thought and European painting.’

Along with Norah McGuinness and Louis le Brocquy she was a founder of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, becoming its first chairperson, but was too ill with cancer to attend the opening.

Mainie Jellett's work features in the 2014 exhibition 'Irish Women Artists: 1870-1970'. Please click here to view the catalogue.

The artist also features in 'A Celebration of Irish Art and Modernism' exhibition (2011). Please click here to view the catalogue.

Mainie Jellett Art Previously On Sale at Adam’s Auctioneers

Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Abstract Composition Oil on canvas, 92 x 73cm (36.25 x 28.75'') Signed...

Hammer Price €92,000.00

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***PLEASE NOTE THE PAINTING IS DATED 1924**** Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Abstract Composition Oil...

Hammer Price €39,000.00

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Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Green Abstract Oil on canvas, 84 x 67.25cm, (33 x 26.5'') Signed and d...

Hammer Price €28,000.00

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Mainie Jellett (1897-1944) Cubist Nude in Landscape (c.1921) Oil on canvas 64 x 49cm (25 x 19.5in...

Hammer Price €25,000.00

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Mainie Jellett, (1847-1944) Abstract Composition Gouache, 63.5 x 48cm, (25 x 19'') Signed and dat...

Hammer Price €22,000.00

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