George Campbell RHA (1917-1979)

George Cambell 3One of Ireland’s foremost landscape artists and still-life painters, George Campbell was born in County Wicklow and received his schooling in Dublin. His mother was the noted artist Gretta Bowen. George Campbell started painting in Belfast in 1941, partly as a reaction to the wartime bombing of the city. He first exhibited in 1944, alongside his friend Gerard Dillon, with whom he shared painting trips to Connemara. He first showed at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in 1948, in company with Dillon and Daniel O’Neill, and continued to show at the RHA over the next 30 years.

Campbell’s artistic range included landscapes, still-lifes, figure painting and historical works. He won the Douglas Hyde Gold Medal for both the best history painting at the Oireachtas and for the best landscape. He painted in watercolours, oils, and mixed media, and produced a number of etchings and crayon drawings. He also undertook several commissions in stained glass. In 1951, George Campbell made his first visit to Spain, a country which so captivated him that he returned there to paint nearly every successive year. This Spanish influence appears in his work in the form of bullfighters, gypsies, street scenes and musicians. He exhibited several times in Madrid, even learned to play the guitar, and was honoured as a Knight Commander of Spain in 1977.

George Cambell 4Campbell’s paintings appeared in many exhibitions during his lifetime. He had his first showing at Belfast’s Mol Gallery in 1944, then in 1946 he exhibited at Waddington Galleries in Dublin – the first event in a long association with the art dealer Victor Waddington. His artworks also showed at the Ritchie Hendriks Gallery, Dublin, the Tom Caldwell Gallery, and at the IELA, the Oireachtas, and the water Colour Society of Ireland (WCSI). The Northern Irish Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) sponsored a number of solo exhibitions for Campbell in 1949, 1952 and 1960, being then replaced by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for one-man shows in 1966 and 1972. George Campbell’s pictures are represented in most major public and private Irish collections of art.

Campbell was appointed an associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in 1954 and a full member in 1964. The Water Colour Society of Ireland (WCSI) elected him a member in 1954. Both the BBC and RTE screened profiles of Campbell in the 1970s. He died in Dublin in 1979.

Most Expensive Work by George Campbell

The auction record for a work by George Campbell was set in 2007, when his landscape painting, entitled Evening In Connemara, was sold at Sotheby’s, London, for £50,400.

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Sean McSweeney

Sean McSweeney 2The Irish landscape artist Sean McSweeney, one of Ireland’s leading painters, was born in Dublin in 1935. Despite not attending art college or taking any classes in painting, he began exhibiting his pictures regularly in the 1960s, in the Irish Exhibition of Living Art and the Oireachtas. McSweeney has also had five one-man shows at the Dawson Gallery in Dublin (from 1965 until 1977), ten solo shows at the Taylor Galleries in Dublin, and numerous others at the Kenny Gallery in Galway, Vanguard Gallery in Cork and at the Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast.

McSweeney participated in many group exhibitions of Irish painting including: Celtic Triangle (1971); The Delighted Eye, Earlham Street Gallery, London (1980); 14th Cagnes-Sur-Mer Painting Festival (1985); Contemporary Artists from Ireland, Austin Desmond Fine Art Gallery, London (1990); Painting Landscape, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast (2001).

In 1990, Sean McSweeney had a retrospective exhibition organized by the Galway Arts Festival which travelled to the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallagher Gallery, Dublin and other venues in Ireland. In 1996, McSweeney had a two-person exhibition with sculptor Conor Fallon in the RHA Gallagher Gallery and the Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo.

Sean McSweeneySean McSweeney’s landscape painting focuses on the phenomenon of the bog pool – deep rectangular incisions in the surface of the bog that are caused by the practice of harvesting turf – and the rugged Sligo coastline. He lives and works in Ballyconnell, Sligo, from where most of his artistic inspiration derives.

During his career as a painter, Sean McSweeney has won numerous awards including: the Oireachtas Award (1968), the George Campbell Travelling Award (1980), the Carroll Award, IELA (1987), a Winner’s Medal for the Claremorris Open Exhibition (1987-8), and in 1989 he was awarded Bonn An Oireachtas.

He is a member of Aosdana and his work is represented in the collections of the Arts Council of Ireland; the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin; the Ulster Museum, Belfast; Aer Lingus; Art Council of Northern Ireland; Dublin City University; Sligo Museum and Art Gallery; Trinity College Dublin.

The auction record for a work by Sean McSweeney was set in 2007, when his landscape painting, entitled Summer Fields, was sold at James Adams, in Dublin, for €18,000.

John Shinnors

John ShinnorsThe contemporary Irish abstract landscape artist and genre scene painter John Shinnors was born in Limerick in 1950. He studied drawing and fine art painting at the Limerick School of Art and Design, and during his career has enjoyed regular solo exhibitions throughout Ireland as well as a wide range of group exhibitions. He is a member of Aosdana.

As a painter, John Shinnors is primarily a landscape artist whose focus has become increasingly abstract. Typically, he creates several preliminary watercolour studies before executing his large scale oil painting works, usually on stretched linen or cotton. His paintings, which also include interior scenes, exhibit rich chiaroscuro qualities and dramatic contrasts between light and dark.

John Shinnors’ artworks have appeared in one-man exhibitions in many galleries, including: Goodwin’s Gallery, Limerick (1978); Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick (1984); Taylor Galleries, Dublin (1998); Taylor Galleries, Dublin (2000);Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, (Travelling) (2003); The Hunt Museum, Limerick (2003); The Hunt Museum, Limerick (2004); Taylor Galleries, Dublin (2004); Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork (2005); Vangard Gallery, Co. Cork (2003). In addition he has shown at numerous Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and Oireachtas shows.

John Shinnors 2John Shinnors’ work is represented in many public and private collections such as: Arts Council of Ireland; National Self Portrait Collection, University of Limerick; Office of Public Works; AIB (Allied Irish Banks); Ulster Museum, Belfast; Limerick City Gallery of Art (includes National Collection of Contemporary Drawing). He was the subject of the RTÉ1 documentary “Split Image John Shinnors”. He is also involved in the promotion of the arts through the Shinnors Scholarship. He lives and works in Limerick.

The highest price paid at auction for a painting by John Shinnors was recorded in 2008, when his work, entitled Estuary Forms – Limerick, was sold at Morgan O’Driscoll, in Co Cork, for €70,000.