In the entry of a bar are a couple of young men inexpertly opening beer bottles and spraying each other with the foam. When we try to pass, they body-check me and ask for ID.
—You just walked in off the street!
This doesn’t make sense, especially since we already passed a bouncer at the door. After some back-and-forth I show them my California driver’s license, which delights them hugely; of course the whole thing is a put-on. The inside of the bar turns out to be crappy and we don’t stay.
The National Gallery of Ireland has hidden the Velázquez I wanted to see in order to clear room for Irish history paintings. The 1850-1950 collection has not been disturbed (no one ever disturbs those collections) and J. and I stroll through a sampling of the usual. We agree that Breton’s The Gleaners does remarkable things in building up its depth of field; also some nice Manet-like work by Eva Gonzalès. Over at the Hugh Lane Gallery is Manet’s actual portrait of Gonzalès at her easel. I’m unconvinced by the face but always glad to see Manet furniture, Manet carpet, Manet clothes. Alongside a meticulous reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s messy studio and Michael Kane’s enjoyable “Modality of the Visible” (some shapes, some Oresteia) the permanent collection has good French pieces including the Morisot stolen from the Tate with accidental success, paintings by the painting Yeatses, foggy pictures of and by A.E., seventies-onward work with points of deep force: Terence P. Flanagan, Bogwater and Bullwire; Rita Donagh, Bystander; Brian Maguire, Jail Visiting.
The head from the statue of Nelson is sitting in the corner of the reading room of my local library in Pearse Street, just past the back of Trinity College, hatless, which rather compromises his majesty. Alas the national gallery is undergoing a (near completed) refurbishment and most of the space is closed. I live nearby and often bring my kids to the playroom there. It will be good to see the paintings back on display.
the house of fiction has manet windows.