Portraits from The David Kronn Collection

This exhibition came to the Butler Gallery from the National Programme of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and was drawn from the exceptional collection of photography amassed by Dr David Kronn, an Irish-born paediatrician with a specialty in medical genetics, who lives and works in New York. Dr Kronn has built an extraordinary photography collection over the past twenty years, which is a promised gift to the Irish Museum of Modern Art to be enjoyed by the Irish public into the future. The overall donation will substantially increase IMMA’s photographic holdings and provide an historical, contextual and expanding framework essential for the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary photography.

Dr Kronn had an early interest in photography, learning to use a darkroom at his school camera club. He remained an active photographer while he was studying medicine at Trinity College Dublin and when his medical training took him to New York, this interest in photography developed into a passion for collecting pictures. Dr Kronn has shaped a collection rich in content, genre and themes that encourages many readings. Placing works in dialogue with one another, the exhibition provides an insight into how a collection is formed and how it can be configured and reconfigured to tell different stories. The collection itself is autobiographical, a portrait over time of Dr Kronn’s thinking and instincts and ranges in content from 19th-century Daguerreotypes to works by icons of modern photography as well as works by award-winning contemporary photographers.

This exhibition was chosen from ‘Second Sight’, a show organised by Seán Kissane, Curator: Exhibitions at IMMA. The selection on view at the Butler Gallery focused on portraits and doubled images in many guises. As seen in ‘Second Sight’, this theme demonstrates not only how varied portraiture can be, but also the international scope of the collection. The exhibition included representations of the people of Ireland in the 1950s, 60s and 70s by Inge Morath, Dorothea Lange, Evelyn Hofer, Fergus Bourke and Elliott Erwitt. Also featured were works that reflect the diversity of Mexican culture by Manuel Alvarez-Bravo, Lola Alvarez-Bravo along with a significant suite of works by Graciela Iturbide; intriguing works by Japanese photographers Daido Moriyama, Issei Suda and Tomoko Sawada; and contemporary photography by Pieter Hugo, Richard Mosse, Malick Sidibé and Anna Rackard.

Grateful thanks are extended to Dr David Kronn and the staff at IMMA – Sarah Glennie, Director; Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections; and especially Seán Kissane, Curator: Exhibitions; Nuria Carballeira, Collections Registrar; and Johanne Mullan, National Programmer for their assistance with the planning of this exhibition.

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