Pervaneh Matthews
Contemporary Irish Artist: Dublin Watercolour Painter Specializing in Portraits: Pets, Animals.

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For a list of the leading Irish
painters, including exponents of
portrait painting, see:
Best Irish Artists.

Pervaneh Matthews (b.1946)
Irish Portrait Painter

Pervaneh Matthews belongs to that unpretentious set of Irish painters who create wonderful figurative art without any intellectual angst about its true meaning. She paints wonderful portraits of men, women and pets, and that's that. It's what I call "pure art", because it's pure draughtsmanship: there's no need for any "artist statement", because it speaks for itself.

In Renaissance times, aspiring painters spent most of their apprenticeship learning how to draw. Only when they had demonstrated ability in this area were they introduced into the complexities of making paint, which was an art in itself. Nowadays, everything is so much more convenient: there are pencils, crayons, charcoal sticks, markers and the rest, while the paint itself comes pre-mixed in easy-to-use tubes or other containers. And yet, judging by today's exemplary contemporary art, drawing is gradually going out of fashion. Thank Heavens at least for artists like Pervaneh, who have genuine skill at their fingerstips.

• For other postmodernists in Ireland, see: Contemporary Irish Artists.
• For the world's best, see: Top 200 Contemporary Artists.


For late 20th century paintings,
see: Contemporary Art.


Born in Dublin, she developed an interest in drawing "faces" from an early age. After leaving school in the early 1960s, she trained at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Kildare Street, where she was influenced by both Sean Keating's paintings of rural ireland and unfinished style of works like The Chinese Girl (1952) by Vladimir Tretchikoff. After NCAD, she worked in a small design studio before teaching art in Armagh and Dublin in the early 1970s. At the same time, she participated in various group exhibitions, which led to a growing number of commissions.

In the early 80s she moved to Yorkshire in England where she continued painting and teaching, and won several commissions from Wakefield District Council, some of which now hang in Wakefield City Town Hall.



Returning to Ireland in the early 90s she recommenced her teaching activities in Taney Parish Centre in Dublin. Her work has been shown in Combridges, Kilternan Art Gallery and Artworks Gallery, and she exhibits regularly on St. Stephen's Green. In October 2008 she showed at the K Club, Kildare, where her sepia watercolours triggered a wave of enthusiastic private commissions, while in March 2009 she showed at the Old Alexandra Hockey Club Art Exhibition. Most of her work is sold through Fine Art Auctioneers James Adams (Dublin), and Morgan O Driscoll, Cork.

Watercolours - Portraits - Pets

Pervaneh paints exclusively in watercolour. She works on line board, beginning with a pencil sketch, gradually building up the tonal value of the painting using monochrome washes in sepia. After this she varnishes over the image, using a special watercolour varnish. The result is almost three dimensional. She specializes in portraits - of individuals as well as public figures (eg. Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats, Elvis, Jo Dolan, Ronnie Drew, Phil Linnott, Rory Gallagher) - and is renowned for her lifelike colour portraits of pets.

Art Classes

For anyone wishing to absorb some of her drawing and painting skills, she holds regular art classes for beginners and advanced students in all media at the Taney Parish Centre in Dublin. Mondays (mornings and afternoons); Tuesday (afternoons); Wednesday (evening).

Our Opinion

Anyone who is looking for a totally lifelike portrait of a loved one or pet, look no further. I defy any artist to create more true-to-life, characterful images than the three shown on this page. This is wonderful art, and amazingly, Pervaneh's prices start from as little as €350.

To contact Pervaneh, to see more of her outstanding portraits, or to discuss commissions, please visit her website:

• For more about contemporary arts, see: Homepage.
• For details of famous painters and sculptors from Ireland, see Irish Artists.

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