Mythmaker

John Currie The Lament of Aicell (detail) 1912 oil on canvas 71 x 91cm Edmund L. and Faye Davison Collection, Wichita Art Museum

 

Philip McEvansoneya explores the work of John Currie, an artist not well known in Ireland, even though he visited the country, painted Irish subjects and exhibited in Dublin

John Currie was the son of Irish emigrants to England. The story of his life has been told in various ways, usually in the context of his connection with eminent contemporaries such as Mark Gertler and CRW Nevinson. Misinformation and invention surround him, which is hardly surprising, given that his tendency to embroider the truth, or even lie, was tolerated by his friends.

Currie was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire. He received his artistic education at the schools of art in Newcastle and nearby Hanley and continued at the Royal College of Art in London. From mid-1908 to mid-1909, Currie made the first of his visits to Ireland. This may have been done in an effort to reconnect with his family roots, and perhaps also to stimulate his work, but his arrival in Ireland came within a year of his marriage and it meant that he left behind his pregnant wife, Jessie Brandon.

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