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 Maurice MacGonigal  (1900 - 1979)

About: Maurice MacGonigal
 

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/Ireland/Holland      Known for: landscape and portrait painting, teaching

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BIOGRAPHY for Maurice MacGonigal
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Birth
1900 (Dublin, Ireland)
 
Death
1979

Lived/Active
United Kingdom/Ireland/Holland

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landscape and portrait painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Maurice MacGonigal PRHA (1900-79)

The landscape and portrait artist Maurice MacGonigal was born in Dublin, becoming a design apprentice in his Uncle's firm which designed and produced stained glass. MacGonigal's cousin, the artist Harry Clarke (who married the painter Margaret Crilley) gave him much encouragement.

MacGonigal mixed politics with art studies, managing within a few years to be interned at Ballykinlar Camp, take drawing and figure drawing classes at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art (now the National College of Art and Design) and win the Taylor Scholarship in painting. He also won the Tailteann silver medal for landscape.

After a visit to Holland in 1927, where he studied fine art painting at the Hague, he returned to Dublin where he taught in the Royal Hiberian Academy Art Schools and also at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art becoming a very influential teacher and eventually Professor of Painting.

Influenced in his art by Sean Keating, Maurice MacGonigal maintained a particularly fruitful association with the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), exhibiting each year from 1924 to 1978 a total of more than 200 paintings.

He was elected an academician of the RHA in 1933. In addition, he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), London and the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.  He was elected a member of the board of Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland as well as the Keeper of the Academy from 1936-1939 and President from 1962-1977.

For much of his artistic career, MacGonigal was an influential figure in the visual art scene of Ireland, representing the more academic and conservative trend or style of art, as opposed to the more avant-garde approach of Mary Swanzy, Nora McGuinness and Louis le Brocquy.
Maurice MacGonigal had solo exhibitions at both Victor Waddington Galleries, (1944) and Taylor Galleries (1978) in Dublin, while in 1991 the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery staged a retrospective of his works.

He showed at numerous Oireachtas. MacGonigal's work is now represented in all major collections of Irish art, including: Ulster Museum, Belfast; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork; Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; Limerick City Gallery of Art (includes National Collection of Contemporary Drawing); Waterford Municipal Art Gallery Collection.

Source:
Online Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art
http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-artists/maurice-macgonigal.htm

Biography from Adam's (James Adam & Sons Ltd.):
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Maurice MacGonigal was born in Dublin and started his career at his uncle's stained glass design business.  He took classes at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, and was awarded medals for his painting, particularly of landscapes.  After a brief visit to the Netherlands to study, he returned to Dublin and became a respected teacher in the same art school where he had previously been trained.

He exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy extensively between 1924 and 1968, in total showing over 200 paintings, and was made an academician there in 1933. He also exhibited regularly in the Royal Academy in London and the Royal Scottish Academy.

"Unloading the Turf Boats at Kilmurvey Pier, Inis Mhór, Aran Islands" probably dates to 1954...the Islands having no natural peat bogs remaining due to erosion, all the fuel has to be brought in from the mainland, and that particular little pier is the main landing place for the most westerly part of the main island Inis Mhór or Inishmor... and not be to be confused with Arannmor off Burtonport Co.Donegal..that particular year was a very long dry summer so that the turf (peat)was of the highest quality..and unloading the turn from the hookers and pucans was a community effort requiring a large collaborative effort.  For a painter the appeal is obvious, and the artist and his family were staying at the local "big house" Kilmurvey House home to the O'Flaherty Johnstons; adjoining the pier was the original house built by Robert Flaherty for his Movie, "Man of Aran". 

The flat limestone flags overlooking the little pier were an ideal perch for a painter who could sit there for hours drawing and painting and just sufficient wind to keep the midges at bay.(always a hazard for plein air painters).  MacGonigal had been on the island painting in the 1930s, but this works dates from the 1950s, a time of long warm days and zephyr breezes.
Ciarán MacGonigal

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