1 Painting in Collection
(1894 - 1955) Ireland
Works in Public Collections
Tate Britain, London, England; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Irish Cultural Institute, University of Limerick, Ireland; Wexford County Council, Ireland
Analysing Cubism, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2013
Evie Hone, 1984-1955, Galway City Museum, 2014
Evie Hone and the International Avant-Garde by Joseph McBrinn, Four Courts Press, Forthcoming: April, 2024
Three Irish Women Artists: Evie Hone, Norah McGuinness, Nano Reid, Jorgensen Fine Art, Dublin, Ireland, 2002
Evie Hone, edited by Stella Frost, Browne and Nolan, 1958
Film Hallowed Fire: The Art of Evie Hone Produced by Charles Toomey for the Cultural Relations Committee of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, 1950: https://ifiarchiveplayer.ie/hallowed-fire-the-art-of-evie-hone/
Born 1894 Dublin, Ireland
Died 1955 Dublin, Ireland
Evie Hone was an early pioneer of cubism and helped build a foundation for modernism in Ireland. She worked as a cubist painter for over a decade but is best known today for her work in stained glass done during the second half of her life.
Born Eva Sydney Hone, Evie came from a family of artists. Her great uncle, Nathaniel Hone, was a recognized 18th century Irish painter. As a young girl Hone contracted polio and was partially paralyzed but overcame this handicap and went on to demonstrate a serious interest in the visual arts. She attended art school in London and Paris where she and Mainie Jellett studied with academic cubist Andre Lhote. Lhote's analytical approach to cubism proposed building up a rhythm of line and form from a central image.
The painting by Hone in the Jeri L. Wolfson Collection, The Dining Table, is illustrative of Lhote’s organizing technique. Hone created pattern and composition with the use of fragmented circles or arches of differing colors and widths. Devoutly religious, Hone often based the subjects for her paintings on Biblical stories but this work appears to be the study of a domestic object.
In 1922 Hone and Jellett approached abstract painter Alfred Gleizes about studying with him. Reluctant at first because he did not know if he could articulate his ideas, Gleizes eventually was won over by the talent and enthusiasm exhibited by these two young painters. For the next ten summers the women worked with Gleizes in his Paris studio. His cubist teachings emphasized the logical principles of echoing colors and rhythms within a composition.
The bright blues and oranges, pinks and greens evident in The Dining Table illustrate Hone's appreciation for vibrant color. Gleizes had his own theories about color that he shared with his students but Hone’s approach is freer and her brushwork more plastic than that of her teacher or her colleague. Unfortunately only a handful of Hone’s cubist paintings still exist but it is evident from the works that we do know that she worked with greater fluidity and spontaneity than Mainie Jellett. Hone’s love of expression and color may in part have fueled her future attraction to stained glass.
In 1924 Hone and Jellett had a joint exhibition at the Dublin Painters’ Gallery. While the conservative Irish public did not understand their modernist approach, the two friends found support in the more progressive salons of France. In the mid 1920s they submitted their paintings to the Salon d'Automne, the Salon des Surindependants and the Salon des Independants. Both Hone and Jellett joined the Abstraction-Creation group of artists in the early 1930s. The group specialized in geometric abstraction or, concrete art, publishing their art and ideas in a dedicated magazine. Hone also submitted to the Water Colour Society of Ireland and between 1930-1945 she exhibited more than 40 works, a third of which were for stained glass.
In 1925 Hone's fervent religious beliefs propelled her to join the Community of the Epiphany, an Anglican religious community in Cornwall, England. This happened just as she was developing a reputation as an artist and exhibiting throughout Europe. Unfortunately, the nuns considered painting a distraction and because life as a nun meant giving up her art, Hone was not able to sustain her life in the order and after a year she resumed her work as an artist. Later the same desires for a religious community made Catholicism attractive and Hone formally joined the Catholic Church in 1937.
It was Evie Hone’s lifelong commitment to spirituality that no doubt propelled her to explore stained glass. A description for an exhibition of Hone’s work at the Tate Britain in 1959 reads The early 1930s were marked by the influence of the work of [Georges] Rouault. Indeed it is possible to consider that Rouault’s drawings and paintings, so deeply expressionistic and fervent, were responsible for awakening in her the realisation that in stained glass lay the possibility of combining formal statements of religious art with the under lying abstract design she desired to incorporate in her work.
In 1930s Hone joined An Túr Gloine, a stained glass cooperative established by the artist Sarah Purser. She studied with Wilhelmina Geddes, a pioneer in stained glass imagery. The confident brushwork and heightened colors that were evident in Hone’s cubist canvases are also present in the glass work that is traditionally figurative in its structure but bold in design. The Encyclopedia of Ireland says of Hone’s stained glass work for An Túr Gloine, she was designing and painting mostly figurative windows using a powerfully innovative vocabulary of deep smoldering colour and loose expressionist brushwork.
Over the next twenty years Hone executed many commissions, producing over 150 stained glass panels. Many churches in Ireland commissioned windows by Evie Hone including the Catholic Church in Howth, the chapel at Clongowes Wood School, the chapel in Blackrock College Dublin and the Catholic Church at Adara in Donegal. She is recognized today as one of the 20th century’s greatest artists in the field. Her most important works are the East Window in the Chapel at Eton College, done between 1949 and 1952, it depicts the Crucifixion, and My Four Green Fields, which is now in the Government Buildings in Dublin. This latter work, commissioned for the Irish Government's Pavilion and won first prize for stained glass in the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
Evie Hone was able to synthesize the modernist, cubist approach proffered by strong teachers with her own visual sense and her attachment to Christianity. Evie Hone and Mainie Jellett joined Mary Swanzy in introducing modernism to Ireland.