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 James Patrick (J.P.) Donleavy  (1926 - )



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Lived/Active: New York / Ireland      Known for: nude figure and portrait painting, writing, illustration

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Biography from Whyte's:
Born in New York City of Irish parents, James Patrick Donleavy served in the US Navy during World War II.  He came to Dublin after the war on the GI Bill of Rights programme and studied macrobiology at Trinity College.  Among his many friends were writers Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan and painter Ralph Cusack.

Attracting controversy as a painter he exhibited in the Stephen's Green Gallery in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Jack Yeats commented favourably on his work, especially on his oil painting technique. 

It was as a writer that he was to find international fame and his first novel, The Ginger Man (1955) was hailed as a comic masterpiece.  Among his other works are A Singular Man (1963), The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (1968), The Onion Eaters (1971), Leila (1983), Are You Listening, Rabbi Low? (1987) and That Darcy, That Dancer, That Gentleman (1990).

He became an Irish citizen in 1967 and lives in Mullingar, County Westmeath where he writes, paints and farms. While writing became his career his painting took a back seat, but he has returned to it many times over the past fifty years, often providing illustrations for his books or for articles written in magazines such as The New Yorker.

He exhibited at the Tom Caldwell Gallery in the 1980s and had a joint exhibition in 1990 in London with his daughter, Karen, a talented painter and highly successful ceramicist and potter now living in the USA.

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