Paul Henry


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(1876–1958), the most influential Irish landscapist of the 20th century. Born in Belfast, he was educated at Belfast Government School of Art, the Académie Julian, and Whistler's Académie Carmen, Paris. In 1900 he began working as an illustrator on various journals in London, while also exhibiting charcoal drawings of landscapes at the Goupil Gallery and other venues. He was a founder member of the Allied Artists' Association (1908). In 1910, at the recommendation of a friend, he went to Achill Island, an experience that shaped the rest of his career. He remained there for a decade. The island, its people, and their way of life, which he recorded with a Post-Impressionist rigour, at first dominated his subject matter, but from about 1917 he travelled more widely in Connemara, painting the landscape itself in scenes usually empty of people yet redolent of humanity, a characteristic which lends a universality to his work. In 1919 he moved to Dublin and the following year founded the Society of Dublin Painters as a forum where young and experimental artists could show their work. He achieved popular acclaim during the 1920s and 1930s, but thereafter his work became repetitive.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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