For the first time, a selection of thirty paintings that once belonged to Chester Beatty will be on display in the Chester Beatty Library. The paintings are among some ninety works presented by Beatty to the Irish nation in 1950, shortly after his move to Ireland from London. Over the following years, he gifted a total of almost 400 paintings, drawings, miniatures and sculptures which today form part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Ireland.
Beatty concentrated on purchases of Barbizon School painters (like Corot, Jacque and Millet) and their Realist contemporaries (such as Breton). Unsurprisingly, he was also attracted to the work of Orientalist painters such as Gérôme, Fromentin and Berchère.
To accommodate his growing collection, in 1935 Beatty constructed a purpose built suite of galleries at his London home, Baroda House, as a link corridor connecting the main house to his library in the converted stables.
From Beatty’s Archives, we know how he arranged and hung his paintings in the years before the outbreak of World War II. During the early years of the war, however, Beatty arranged for many of his pictures to be safely stored, while others – generally smaller and easily portable works – were brought to the apartment he occupied while Baroda House was turned into a Red Cross hospital.
The Chester Beatty Library is grateful to the National Gallery of Ireland for their generosity in lending these paintings which will remain on view at the Library until 31 August 2013.