Renowned for his landscapes and his draughtsmanship as well as his series of humorous self-portraits comparing himself to Don Quixote, Brian Bourke was born in Dublin in 1936.
He studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, and at St. Martin’s School of Art in London. In 1964, he held his first solo exhibition in Dublin.
In 1965, he was chosen to represent Ireland in both the Biennale de Paris and the Lugano Exhibition of Graphics.
In the same year he won the Arts Council prize for portraiture and then, in 1967, won first prize in the Irish Exhibition of Living Art competition.
A regular exhibitor at the Dawson and Taylor Galleries in Dublin, and at art galleries in Switzerland, England and America, his paintings were included in the Delighted Eye, the Hibernian landscape and the Cork Rosc exhibitions in 1980.
In 1985, the Sunday Independent newspaper named him Artist of the Year, and in 1993 he received the O’Malley Award from the Irish-American Cultural Institute.
In 1991, he was appointed artist-in-residence at the Beckett Festival in the Gate Theatre, Dublin, while his accompanying works appeared at the Douglas Hyde Gallery.
In 2001, a large exhibition of his portraits of women, centred around portraits of his son’s adopted daughter, appeared at the Dyehouse Gallery in Waterford. He lives in County Galway. Brian Bourke’s paintings appear in many important collections throughout Ireland and worldwide. He is an elected member of Aosdana.
The auction record for a work by Brian Bourke was set in 2004, when his oil painting entitled Those Girls, Those Girls, Those Lovely Seaside Girls(Dyptich) was sold at DeVeres, Dublin, for €26,000.