Hugh Lane: 1875-1915
By: Robert O’Byrne
Available for the first time in paperback, Robert O’Byrne’s landmark biography of Hugh Lane remains the essential and fundamental work on this enigmatic art dealer and patron.
From his birth in Cork in 1875, to London, South Africa and Dublin, Hugh Lane is primarily remembered for establishing Dublin’s Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the first known public gallery of modern art in the world. He never married and, though rumoured to have been homosexual, never had a documented relationship with a man. He was also known to be a person of great social energy who befriended and sometimes crossed swords with the leading cultural figures of his day: Yeats, Gregory, Orpen, Augustus John, Rodin, Beerbohm, and many others.
Robert O’Byrne writes with clarity and insight about a man who, since his untimely death on R.M.S. Lusitania in 1915, has been something of a mystery.
‘The essential book about the brief but extraordinary life of a legendary Edwardian art dealer and philanthropist, his determination to establish a gallery of modern art in Dublin, and its bitterly contested outcome. Writing with authority and verve, Robert O’Byrne has plumbed a rich vein of social history and connoisseurship, to draw a striking portrait of a complex, brilliant and contradictory personality.’ – R. F. FOSTER
Robert O’Byrne is a writer and lecturer specializing in the fine and decorative arts and author of more than a dozen books, among them The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin (2013), Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House (2012), Desmond Leslie 1921-2001 (2010), Romantic Irish Homes (2009) and Hugh Lane 1875-1915 (2000). He writes a monthly column for Apollo magazine and contributes to the Burlington Magazine and the Irish Arts Review. Since 2012 he has written an award-winning blog, The Irish Aesthete.