Edward McGuire

1932-1986 [Edward Augustine]; b. 10 April, third of five children of a namesake businessman, an accomplished painter and later a senator who acquired Brown Thomas, Dublin - rendering it a highly fashionable department store; ed. St. Conleth"s, Ballsbridge (Dublin), and Downside (Cath. Benedictines, in Somerset, nr. Bath); took uncongenial work as trainee manager on the shop-floor at Brown Thomas and decided to become an artist during a roaming visit to Florence, 1950; studied sporadically at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Rome, 1952-53; briefly studied under Lucien Freud at Slade, London, 1954 - meeting Patrick Swift there; adopted New Realist style of post-War German painters; lived on Aran Islands, 1955-56, and produced still-lifes there, espec. animal skulls and dead birds (‘they stay still’); he developed a ‘colour dictionary’, 1959-66, illustrating a range of tonalities (now held in Kilmainham IMMA) though colour in the impressionist sense is largely depreciated in his paintings;

began a series of portraits of friends in Dublin; increasingly made literary and cultural portrait his genre following a water-colour portrait of Patrick Kavanagh, 1961 [see sel. list under works - infra]; painted at his home, 26 Sandycove Ave., W., in Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin), purchased by his father in 1966, and at a summer house in Termon, Maghery, (Co. Donegal) during 1971–80;  lived with Sally [Sara, née Wright], formerly a sister-in-law of Garech Browne from 1971; m. 1974; he showed at Irish Living Art and RHA; assoc. member, 1973 and full MRHA, 1976; winner of Oireachtas Godl Medal with port. of President Cearbhall Ó Dalaigh, 1976; suffered heart attack, and d. in hospital some weeks after, 26 Nov. 1986 [aetat. 54]; survived by Sally and by her adopted dg. Tresa; he was working on a portrait of Maurice Craig when he died.

[ See entry by Lawrence William White and Carmelin Doyle in Dictionary of irish Biography (RIA 2009) - online. ]


Incl. portraits of Patrick Kavanagh (1961); Wanda Ryan (1966; dg. of John Ryan), John Ryan (1970), Seamus Heaney (1974), commissioned by Ulster Museum; Francis Stuart (1974), Seán O’Faolain (1977), Anthony Cronin (1977), Paul Duncan (1981) Michael Longley (1983), and Michael Hartnett (q.d.). His portraits of Pearse Hutchinson and Michael Harnett were included in the Rosc Exhib. and Catalogue (1971).

[See Gallery of Literary Portraits by Edward McGuire - infra.]


Hayden Murphy, ‘Edward McGuire: A Profile’ in The Arts in Ireland, 2:4 (1974), pp.38–48; Dorothy Walker, ‘Sailing to Byzantium: The Portraits of Edward McGuire’, in Irish Arts Review , 4:4 (Winter 1987), pp.21-29 [see attached].

Bibliographical details
Brian Fallon, Edward McGuire RHA (IAP 1991), 160pp; poems and memoirs by Anthony Cronin, Paul Durcan, Michael Hartnett, Seamus Heaney, Pearse Hutchinson, Michael Longley [‘Sitting for Eddie’], Michael Hartnett, John Montague, Francis Stuart [Memoir], and a catalogue by Sally McGuire. See also Brian O’Doherty, The Irish Imagination 1959-1971 [Rosc Exhib. Catalogue] (1971). The catalogue of his works was compiled by Sally McGuire.


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A Gallery of Literary Portraits by Edward McGuire
Anthony Cronin
John Jordan Michael Longley
Seamus Heaney
Paddy Molony Paul Durcan
Pearse Hutchinson Sean MacBridge
Michael Harnett
Sydney Bernard Smith Ulick O"Connor
Barn Owl

[ All available as Adams Auctions - online; accessed 24.04.2024 ]