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 Patrick Collins  (1910 - 1994)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/Ireland/France      Known for: landscape, portrait and figure painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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Patrick Collins HRHA (1910-1994)

The bohemian but revered landscape and figure painter Patrick Collins was born in County Sligo.  He drew enormous strength and inspiration from the Irish landscape and its people. His grey-blue abstract landscape painting, evoking a spirit of folklore and mythology, contains images of households, farmlands and figures.

Unusually, he did not begin painting until the late 1930s, while his formal art tuition - which took second place to his 20-year stint with an Insurance Co - amounted to two terms of night classes in drawing and some fine art painting at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.

After a period of solitary life in Howth Castle, during which he might spend up to six months on a single painting, he began showing at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art (1950), where he exhibited for some 20 years. His first solo exhibition - in which he displayed 30 paintings completed over 6 years - was in 1956 at the Ritchie Hendriks Gallery in Dublin. In 1958, he received first prize of $1,000 for "Liffey Quaysides" in the Irish category at the Guggenheim International, New York.

In the late 1950s he travelled to Carnac in Brittany, to study prehistoric monuments. This inspired his later series of 'menhir' pictures. [Note: readers of Asterix may know that menhir derives from the Breton words men (stone) and hir (long).] Further exhibitions followed, including an initial showing at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) with "Menhirs with Sun", in 1962. Collins submitted a total of 19 paintings to the RHA up until 1990. Between 1961 and 1972 he had nine exhibitions at the Ritchie Hendriks Gallery, and showed also in London and Belfast.

He lived in France from 1971-77, and again in 1979, but was dogged by lack of money and health problems. He returned permanently to Ireland at the end of the decade and was elected HRHA in 1980 and a member of Aosdána in 1981. Several solo exhibitions followed, including a Retrospective at Sligo Art Gallery in 1985. Two years later, Patrick Collins was the first artist to be honoured with the accolade SAOI by Aosdána in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Ireland. In 1988 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Trinity College, Dublin. His paintings have been exhibited widely in Ireland and in Europe, and are held in many public and private collections of Irish painting worldwide.

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