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 May (Mary Catherine) Guinness  (1863 - 1955)



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Lived/Active: Ireland/France      Known for: landscape and genre painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
St. Malo from St. Servan
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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.

May Guinness (Landscape Artist, Genre-Painter) (1863-1955)

Born in Dublin, the daughter of a solicitor, the details of her early art training are unknown, but by 1892 Mary Guinness was already exhibiting with the Water Colour Society of Ireland, to whom she contributed no less than 129 paintings.  In 1894, along with Mildred Butler, she went to the Newlyn School or colony in Cornwall to study under the renowned Impressionist landscape artist Norman Garstin.

From 1897 to 1911, she showed at the Royal Hibernian Academy - somewhat melancholy landscapes in the style of the French Romantic Jean-Bapiste Camille Corot - and in 1902-3 she spent time painting in Florence.

In 1910, she travelled to Brittany in France where she captured a number of Breton scenes featuring fairs, weddings and other social occasions.  Her experience of France was one of the reasons she left Dublin in 1914 to become a nurse in the French Army, winning the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Francaise for her efforts.

Guinness was a highly versatile artist: in addition to her drawings, landscape and genre-paintings, she also produced woodcuts, embroideries, painted boxes and bottles, as well as highly-coloured mural frescoes.

Returning to France for most winters, she studied under Andre L'hote (along with Evie Hone and Mainie Jellett) exhibiting at The Salon in Paris, and in London.  She continued to exhibit in Dublin in numerous venues, forming her own social Salon in the process, and maintained an active painting career until well into her 80s.

Examples of her work are in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Limerick City Gallery of Art, the Model and Niland Centre in Sligo, the Waterford Municipal Art Collection and the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork.

Online Encyclopedia of Irish and World Art

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.

An early Irish modernist, a pupil of André Lhote's, and a friend and teacher to both Evie Hone and Mainie Jellet, May Guinness was born in 1863 in Ireland as Mary Catherine Guinness.  She began exhibiting in 1892 with the Watercolor Society of Ireland, with whom she was to show more than 120 paintings over the next sixty years.

In 1894 she travelled to the Cornish art colony of Newlyn, along with fellow watercolourist Mildred Anne Butler.  Around 1910 she first visited France, finding inspiration there from various artists including Kees van Dongen (1877-1968).  In Dublin she encouraged younger artists to experiment with colour and form, whilst applying herself to various mediums including fresco painting and decorative needlework.

During the First World War she was a military nurse and was awarded the Croix de Guerre.  She had an exhibition of her work at the St Stephens Green Gallery in 1922, and another ten years later at the Mills' Hall in Merrion Row.  She exhibited with the Dublin Painters and the IELA, as well as at the Victor Waddington Galleries.  A retrospective was held the year after her death at the Dawson Gallery, Dublin. Her painting A Religious Procession In Brittany is in the National Gallery of Ireland.
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