Patrick Hennessy
Irish Still-Life Painter, Landscape Artist: Biography, Paintings.



Portrait of Elizabeth Bowen

Patrick Hennessy RHA (1915-1980)

The Irish still-life artist, landscape and trompe l'oeil painter Patrick Hennessy was born in County Cork. He won a scholarship to Dundee College of Art where he was taught drawing and fine art painting by James McIntosh Patrick RSA (1907-98) and met the artist H. Robertson Craig. Patrick Hennessy was a gifted student and was awarded a further scholarship which allowed him to study in Paris and Rome.

On his return he continued his studies at the Hospitalfield Advanced Art College in Arbroath. In 1939, he exhibited a self-portrait and a still-life at the Royal Scottish Academy, whereupon he returned to Ireland and began life as a professional painter, dividing his time between Cork and Dublin.


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In 1941 he showed at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and joined the Dublin Painters Group. Such was his mastery of oil painting technique that he soon began to sell his paintings. His style and use of colour proved irresistible to art critics who found the under-stated realism and semi-Gothic mood of even his still-life painting fascinating. Hennessy exhibited regularly in Dublin from 1941 to 1970, submitting more than 100 paintings to the RHA, including still-life, portrait art and landscape painting. In 1948 he was elected an associate and in 1949 a full member. A retrospective of Hennessy's paintings was held at the Dublin Painters Gallery in 1951, while he also exhibited in Munster and Cork. In addition, he travelled throughout Kerry and Connemara, Galway, painting landscapes.

In 1956, Hennessy had his first solo exhibition in London, displaying nearly 40 paintings, including several portraits. In 1957, the Ritchie Hendriks Gallery staged an exhibition of his flower paintings. More shows followed in Dublin, Chicago and Cork. Meantime, Hennessy continued to make trips abroad. He made regular visits to Paris, Normandy, the Dordogne, as well as Belgium, Holland and Spain. He also toured Italy and Greece, and spent several of his final years in Morocco to protect him against winter pneumonia. He died in 1980 after taking ill in Portugal, at the age of 65.

Patrick Hennessy's paintings are represented in a large number of public and private art collections, including: University College, Dublin; Hugh Lane Art Gallery; National Gallery of Ireland; Irish Museum of Modern Art; Office of Public Works; Crawford Art Gallery; Limerick City Art Gallery; Limerick University National Self-Portrait Collection; and many others.

Most Expensive Painting By Patrick Hennessy

The auction record for a work by Patrick Hennessy was set in 2004, when his still life picture, entitled Still Life With Sea Chest, was sold at Christie's, in London, for £34,655.

More Information About Visual Arts in Ireland

• For details of other trompe l'oeil painters, see: Irish Artists: Paintings and Biographies.
• For more about artists like Patrick Hennessy, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about classical art, see: Homepage.


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