Fri 24 Jun 2016 - Sun 7 May 2017
Many American Presidents claim ancestral links to Ulster. This exhibition of original drawings, made around 1930, focusses on eleven of them.
Andrew Jackson (1767 -1845), Seventh President of the U.S.A. (1930) Frank McKelvey 1895 - 1974
© Estate of Frank McKelvey 2016
Who were these eleven ambitious individuals? This exhibition looks at their journeys from Ulster all the way to the White House.
Interest in the strong links between Ulster and America developed throughout the 1900s. Frank McKelvey’s presidential portraits were part of this growing awareness, and so too was the creation of this museum, the Ulster American Folk Park, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2016.
Frank McKelvey (1895-1974) was a landscape and portrait painter. He was born in Belfast and lived there all his life. By the mid-1920s he had firmly established himself in the art world in Belfast and Dublin, and was recognised as one of the best Irish painters of his time.
To supplement his income, McKelvey designed posters and did commercial work for firms like the Belfast printer McGowan and Ingram Ltd. This type of work included these pencil and wash drawings of American Presidents. Although not drawn from live models, they do capture something of the character and personality of the subjects. They offer an interesting insight into a growing awareness of Ulster’s contributions to early American politics.
: Emigrants Exhibition Gallery, Ulster American Folk Park