Daniel O'Neill
Biography, Paintings of Irish Figurative Artist.



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Daniel O'Neill (1920-1974)

Born in Belfast, the son of an electrician, Dan O'Neill began painting in the early 1940s during World War II. He worked night shifts for a while as an electrician, which allowed him to paint during the day. Receiving a gallery contract from Dublin art dealer Victor Waddington in 1945, he began painting full-time. Having already exhibited in Dublin (1943) in a joint art exhibition with Gerard Dillon, at the Contemporary Painters Gallery, his first one man show was staged at the Waddington Galleries in 1946 - where he sold nearly all of his pictures - and followed this with a collaborative show called 'Four Northern Painters', with Gerard Dillon, George Campbell and Neville Johnson.


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Over the next decade, O'Neill together with these three artist friends, exhibited abroad in group shows held in Los Angeles, New York and Boston, as well as London and Amsterdam. Meanwhile, in 1949, he visited Paris and was influenced by Rouault, Vlaminck and Utrillo.

In 1952, a retrospective of O'Neill's artwork, staged at the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery, helped establish his creative reputation. According to O'Neill, he painted landscapes with people in them. But O’Neill was mainly interested in landscape only as a means of representing the concerns and dreams of those who lived in it.

In 1958, O’Neill moved to London. His paintings from this point on became more and more introspective, even desolate. In 1970 he returned to Ireland where more exhibitions followed, at both the McClelland Gallery and the Dawson Gallery. According to a review by Irish Times art critic Desmond MacAvock, O’Neill had always shown the greatest consistency of manner, style and subject matter of the Belfast school of contemporary Irish painting. O'Neill died in 1974. His artworks appear in many collections including the Ulster Museum, Queen’s University, Belfast and the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Art, Dublin.

Most Expensive Painting by Daniel O'Neill

The auction record for a work by Daniel O'Neill was set in 2008, when his oil painting entitled Reclining Figure was sold at Sotheby's, in London, for £216,500. In 2005, his painting Girl with a Red Bow was sold for €185,000.

Other paintings by Daniel O'Neill include:
Place du Tertre; The Blue Skirt; Knockalla Hills, Donegal; Western Landscape; Birth; The Artist's Studio; Belfast after the Riot; Bride and Groom; The Clown; Corn; Cottages, Connemara; December in Donegal; Figure in a Landscape, Donegal; Figures in a Landscape; The First Born; Girl with a Red Bow; Girl with Blossoms; Girl with Doves; Kathleen; Mountain Road, County Kerry; The Pearl Necklace; The Pose; Studio Interior; Sunday Afternoon; Landscape With Trees; Interior With figure.

More Information About Irish Visual Arts and Culture

• For details of other Belfast painters and sculptors, see: Irish Artists: Paintings and Biographies.
• For more about Northern Irish artists like Daniel O'Neill, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about arts and crafts, see: Homepage.


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