The contemporary abstract painter Felim Egan was born in Strabane, County Tyrone in 1952. He studied painting and drawing in Belfast and Portsmouth before attending the Slade School of Fine Art in London, after which he began exhibiting in the late 1970s. He also studied for 12 months at the British School at Rome in 1980 before returning to Dublin. One of Ireland’s most respected exponents of abstract art, his paintings are carefully built up in layers of thin colour with stone powder ground into the acrylic. His visual vocabulary includes the use of hieroglyphic-type motifs over monochromatic areas of colour, evoking long horizons, big skies and empty sands.
Felim Egan represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1980 and the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1985, and has enjoyed more than 55 solo shows throughout Europe and the USA since 1979. Major exhibitions of his artworks were held at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin in 1995-96, and at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1999. He was awarded the Premier UNESCO Prize for the Arts in Paris in 1983, and in 1997 he received the Gold Award at Cagnes-sur-Mer. Egan has received several large scale commissions, including works for Dublin Castle and the National Gallery of Ireland. In addition, he recently completed a large scale sculpture at Cork Street, Dublin, October 2005. He is also a member of Aosdana.
Felim Egan’s work is represented in numerous collections both public and private, including those of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Hugh Lane Gallery; An Comhairle Ealaion/Tha Arts Council; Trinity College, Dublin; University College Dublin; Office of Public Works; Conrad Hotel; Irish Life, Dublin; Allied Irish Banks; Bank of Ireland; Aer Lingus; A & L Goodbody Ltd, Dublin; Gate Theatre; Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny; Guinness Peat Aviation, Shannon; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Ulster Museum, Belfast; North West Arts Trust, Derry; Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; The British Library; Frtiz-Winter-Haus, Moderne Kunst Museum, Ahlen, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the European Parliament; Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York; and others.
The auction record for a work by Felim Egan was set in 2007, when his abstract painting, entitled Intertidal Note, was sold at DeVeres, in Dublin, for €19,500.