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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Jack B Yeats (1871-1957)

Jack Yeats 1Jack Butler Yeats was born in London in 1871, the youngest son of Irish portraitist John Butler Yeats, and the brother of the Nobel Prize winning poet William Butler Yeats. He studied painting and drawing at the Westminster School of Art under Fred Brown, before leaving to work as a graphic artist, cartoonist, illustrator and water-colourist.

While he began using oils from about 1897, Yeats did not regularly produce oil paintings until 1905, preferring to work in watercolours. His early artworks were romantic depictions of landscapes and figures from the west of Ireland, particularly from his home in Sligo. He was influenced by the French Impressionist masters in the art collection of Sir Hugh Lane and began exhibiting at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1899.

After residing in London, he lived in Devon (England) for fourteen years, before moving to Greystones in county Wicklow. In 1917, he moved to Dublin. From around 1920, he developed a much more Expressionist style, moving from illustration to symbolism.

Jack Yeats 2

Sympathetic to but not active in the Irish Republican movement, he began to produce emotional, yet realistic, paintings of urban and rural life in Ireland. At the same time, he started using a wider and brighter range of colours – often applied very thickly with implements other than a paint-brush – along with free and loose brushstrokes. His compositions included genre paintings of circuses, music halls, and horse races, sombre landscapes of Ireland’s west coast, as well as scenes from Celtic mythology. In 1924, he was awarded the silver medal for painting at the Tailteann Games.

After the death of his wife in 1947, to whom he had been happily married since 1894, his work became increasingly nostalgic. Retrospective exhibitions of his paintings were held at the National Gallery, London, 1942, in Dublin 1945, in the London Tate Gallery 1948, while a showing of his last works was staged at the Waddington Galleries, London, in 1958.

Although some critics have dismissed Jack B Yeats’ artwork as irrelevant, an exhibition of his paintings at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, in 1971, revived his reputation as perhaps the most important modern painter in the history of Irish art. Jack B Yeats passed away in Dublin on March 28, 1957.

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.