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Patricia O'Brien

(The Burren, Co. Clare 1927 - 2023 Grasse)

The Pink Tulips, 1996

oil on canvas

signed and dated lower left 'OBrien 96' and inscribed with the title 'The Pink Tulips' to the reverse of the stretcher 

30 x 35 cm.


Dublin, Solomon Gallery, 1996.


From the artist's family.

In this exquisite small-scale painting you can see O'Brien's fascination with early old master paintings, from the Netherlandish master, Gerard David, to Sandro Botticelli – whose attention to detail, and fascination with the female form inspired her, as well as the didactic and symbolic nature of their work. 

Patricia O’Brien never studied art, but as the daughter of an accomplished amateur artist, and always busy drawing and painting from childhood, it was perhaps inevitable that she would later become a fully-fledged artist. There are photos of Patricia in the 1950s, quite the pin-up, with movie-star looks, at a time when she forged a close friendship with the artist, Frederick Gore (1913-2009), whose father, Spencer Gore, was the President of the Camden Town Group until his death in 1914. Photos from that time show Patricia working on stage sets with Frederick and others, so she was painting, even then.

When she moved to Grasse, the perfume capital of France, with her husband in the 1960s, O’Brien found herself inspired by the rolling lavender-covered landscape, and the very real need to earn a living. From experimental landscape painting, to portraits of women, exquisitely rendered in painstaking detail, with faux-naïve backdrops and intriguing narrative scenarios, she took the London art scene by storm in 1977 with her first solo show at the prestigious Upper Street Gallery in Islington. This marked the beginning of a flourishing career that would see her regularly exhibit at the Royal Academy and gain representation by Stephen Bartley and by Suzanne MacDougald in Dublin in the 1990s.

Patricia is still living in Grasse today, remarkable at 97 years old.

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