Basil Blackshaw
Irish Expressionist Artist, Biography, Paintings.


Basil Blackshaw RUA (b.1932)

Noted for his expressionist even abstract approach to traditional paintings, as well as his sports paintings and portraits, Basil Blackshaw was born in Glengormley, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He attended Methodist College in Belfast and studied at the Belfast College of Art from 1948 to 1951. Then, in 1951 he was awarded a scholarship by the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts to study in Paris. Since then he has mainly worked in the Lagan Valley. A master in the technical skills of painting, Blackshaw is highly regarded for his loose application of paint and a very distinctive use of colour. His pictures of horse racing, and boxing are especially popular but his compositions also include dogs, landscapes, rural life and city scenes.


Blackshaw is also a celebrated figure-painter, especially of the nude form, and a noted portraitist. His portrait subjects include Archbishops George Simms and Armstrong, Brian Friel, Jennifer Johnston, Douglas Gageby, Vincent Ferguson, Ted Hicky and Michael Longley. In 1995, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland organised a major retrospective of Blackshaw's artwork which travelled from Belfast to Dublin, Cork and many galleries in the United States. In 2001, he won the Glen Dimplex Award for Sustained Contribution to the Visual Arts in Ireland. He was elected as an associate of the Royal Ulster Academy of the Arts in 1977, and an Academician in 1981. He is a member of the eminent group of Irish artists, Aosdana.

Blackshaw's Solo Exhibitions include:

1956, 61 CEMA Gallery, Belfast
1962 Studio 25, Belfast
1964, 74, 81, 83 Northern Irish Arts Council Gallery, Belfast
1970, 71 Bell Gallery, Belfast
1973, 75, 77, 81, 85, 92 Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast
1987 David Hendriks Gallery, Dublin
1990 Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
1995 Arts Council of Northern Ireland (retrospective, Belfast, Dublin, Cork)
2002 Ulster Museum
2005 Fenton Gallery in Cork.

Basil Blackshaw's works appear in the following collections:

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin
The Ulster Museum
Allied Irish Bank Art Collection
Bank of Ireland
Guiness Peat Aviation
Joyce Museum
Office of Public Works (Glebe House)
Trinity College, Dublin

More Information About Visual Arts in Ireland

• For details of other figure painters, see: Irish Artists: Paintings and Biographies.
• For more about Antrim artists like Basil Blackshaw, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about Expressionism, see: Homepage.

History of Irish Art
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