The landscape and portrait artist Maurice MacGonigal was born in Dublin, becoming a design apprentice in his Uncle’s firm which designed and produced stained glass. MacGonigal’s cousin, the artist Harry Clarke (who married the painter Margaret Crilley) gave him much encouragement.
MacGonigal mixed politics with art studies, managing within a few years to be interned at Ballykinlar Camp, take drawing and figure drawing classes at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art (now the National College of Art and Design) and win the Taylor Scholarship in painting. He also won the Tailteann silver medal for landscape.
After a visit to Holland in 1927, where he studied fine art painting at the Hague, he returned to Dublin where he taught in the Royal Hibernian Academy Art Schools and also at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art becoming a very influential teacher and eventually Professor of Painting.
Influenced in his art by Sean Keating, Maurice MacGonigal maintained a particularly fruitful association with the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), exhibiting each year from 1924 to 1978 a total of more than 200 paintings.
He was elected an academician of the RHA in 1933. In addition, he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), London and the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
He was elected a member of the board of Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland as well as the Keeper of the Academy from 1936-1939 and President from 1962-1977. For much of his artistic career, MacGonigal was an influential figure in the visual art scene of Ireland, representing the more academic and conservative trend or style of art, as opposed to the more avant-garde approach of Mary Swanzy, Nora McGuinness and Louis le Brocquy.
Maurice MacGonigal had solo exhibitions at both Victor Waddington Galleries, (1944) and Taylor Galleries (1978) in Dublin, while in 1991 the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery staged a retrospective of his works. He showed at numerous Oireachtas. MacGonigal’s work is now represented in all major collections of Irish art, including: Ulster Museum, Belfast; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork; Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Limerick City Gallery of Art (includes National Collection of Contemporary Drawing); Waterford Municipal Art Gallery Collection.
Most Expensive Painting By Maurice MacGonigal
The auction record for a work by Maurice MacGonigal was set in 2006, when his landscape painting, entitled Harbour at Roundstone, Connemara, was sold at DeVeres, in Dublin, for €32,000.