Norah McGuinness HRHA

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Norah McGuinness  HRHA  ( 1901-1980 )

The artist Norah McGuinness was born in Co. Derry Northern Ireland in 1901. At the age of 18 she won a three year scholarship to study at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, there she studied under the tutelage of Harry Clarke, Patrick Tuohy and Oswald Reeves before moving on to London to study at the Chelsea School of Art.

McGuinness supported herself by designing set and costumes for the Abbey and Peacock theatres and through illustrated books. She married the editor Geoffrey Phibbs but divorced in 1930 after Phibbs had left her more than once, notably for the poet Laura Riding She was a member of Lucy Wertheim’s ‘Twenties Group’ and of the avant-garde London Group.

She lived in New York from 1937-39 and afterwards on the advice of Mainie Jellett travelled to Paris to study for a period under Andre Lhote. Although her work remained figurative, she painted vivid, highly coloured landscapes; her work shows the cubist influence of Lhote.

A founding member of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art McGuinness served as president from 1944 to 1971, after the death of Mainie Jellett.

1923 – Won an RDS medal

1924 – Exhibited for the first time at the RHA.

1950 – represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale with Nano Reid

1957 – Elected an Honorary member of the RHA but resigned in 1969.

1968 – Retrospective of her work took place at Trinity College Dublin .

She regularly exhibited at the Victor Waddington, Dawson and Taylor Galleries in Dublin as well as in Leicster and Mercury Galleries in London, Paris and New York.

McGuinness is a highly collectable Irish artist and her paintings can be found in many important collections in Ireland and abroad. Her work is also represented in the collections of the following state institutions

  • The National Gallery of Ireland
  • Irish Museum of Modern Art
  • Hugh Lane Gallery
  • The Ulster Museum
  • The Crawford Gallery.

Norah McGuinness HRHA