Albert Power, R.H.A.


Letter from The Albert Power Society, The Galway Advertister, 26 June 2003.

Safety of Ó Conaire statue is paramount

Dear Editor,
Regarding the recent correspondence concerning the statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire by Albert Power, RHA, we would like to clarify the following points:
We appreciate the concerns of recent letterwriters to the Advertiser Ms Nuala Nolan and Ms Catherine Fitzpatrick and agree in principle with their wish to preserve the beautiful statue on Eyre Square.
However, the Albert Power Society is satisfied that the people of Galway can still feel the pride and joy of this work of art.
Bearing in mind the abuse and vandalism the statue has been subjected to, especially in recent times, the Albert Power Society would like to stress that the best solution now, is to have a bronzed replica of the statue in the square.
This would be in keeping with other cities, for example the WB Yeats portrait bust in Sandymount Green, Dublin, also by Albert Power. This bronzing process in no way would diminish the artistic merit of the work, provided that it is carried out by an expert.
Our priority at the moment is the safety of the statue. Unfortunately limestone is not as durable as bronze and a repeat of what happened in 1999 would completely destroy this Galway landmark.

Mise le meas,
Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola
The Albert Power Society.

Bhí Albert Power RHA (1881 – 1945, ar dhuine de na mhórdhealbhóirí na tíre lena linn. D’fhreastal sé ar an Scoil Cheannchathartha Ealaíne, Baile Átha Cliath áit a bhfuair sé oiliúint ó John Hughes (1864 - 1941). Tugadh faoi deara go raibh cumas ar leith ann mar ealaíontóir agus nuair a bhí sé i mbarr a réime mar dhealbhóir bhí eileamh mór ar a shaothar. Bhí ina chumas portráidí agus gach saghas dealbhóireachta a dhéanamh. Rinne sé leachtanna cuimhne agus bustaí portráide de dhaoine cailiúla go leor, ina measc bhí: Micheál Ó Coileáin, Art Ó Gríofa, Éamon de Valera, WB Yeats, agus b’fhéidir, an saothar is cailiúla ar fad díobh an dealbh den scríbhneoir Pádraig Ó Conaire, atá ina shuí go hoiric ar an bhFaiche Mhór i nGaillimh.

An excerpt from the official biography of Albert Power R.H.A. Saol agus Saothar Albert Power, by Dara Ó Conaola. Published by Ceardshiopa Inis Oírr Teo., 1996. ©

THE IRISH TIMES, 11 November 1945

With him passes one of the outstanding figures of contemporize Irish Art. He was a man of singularly attractive personality, direct in his manner, vital and very human in his sympathies. His life was spent in Dublin and he drew all his inspiration from the scene around him, stretching from the Victorian days with its rigid social code, and then through its varied and violent changes to the crude realism of the present day, of which in part he was a victim.
As a sculptor he did work of all kinds, from monumental and decorative work on a large scale, such as the tympanum of the Mullingar Cathedral, to his highly individual groups such as ‘The Bully’ to his magnificent portrait of W.B. Yeats, which conveys the poet’s intellectual grandeur, or the head of Kettle in St. Stephen’s Green – s symbol of thoughtful resignation.
What sees always to have inspired Albert Power was direct contact, and he had a great gift for rendering the fine qualities of a personality or the essentials of a scene he had witnessed.
The last time I saw him was in his stone yard in Berkley road, polishing his fine sculpture in Connemara marble, ‘The Salmon’, in which he so skillfully used the qualities of the green marble to convey the foaming flood as the fish fight their way to through it. He was always an interesting man of indomitable courage, loving his art, and despising only what he considered false.

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