b. 1936, Dublin
Joseph O’Connor is an accomplished Irish artist who has chosen to remain outside the mainstream throughout his career. Born in Dublin in 1936, he initially attended St.Dominic’s College in Cabra before moving on to the Jesuits in Belvedere College. After secondary school he studied medicine at University College Dublin for a period before electing to follow his first love, the pursuit of an artistic career. This entailed the study of art at the National College of Art in Dublin, followed by stints at Regent Street Polytechnic and Chelsea Schools of Art in London. Afterwards he took a postal position in the U.K. to enable him to paint without financial pressure.
O’Connor is a decidedly figurative artist with a lifelong love of the Dutch old masters including Pieter de Hoogh, Frans Hals and Jan Vermeer. He has also got a special respect for the works of Delacroix and Carravaggio. His love of painting also extends to modern masters such as Nicholas de Stael, Amedeo Modigliani and Piet Mondrian. He painted religious compositions in his youth. Nowadays, his passion for sport offers him endless inspiration for individual artistic interpretation of its many forms.
He has a passionate interest in sport and his recent paintings have for their themes football, cricket, skiing and athletics, as well as studies of human visages, both male and female, that attract and intrigue him. It is evident that he adores watching the Premier Football League. He lives in London but comes back regularly to stay at the family home in Dublin and call on his friends and contemporaries who include Liam Belton RHA, Patrick Pye RHA., John Behan RHA., Michael Kane and the late John Kelly. His first exhibition was in the Cavendish Gallery in Dublin owned by Paul Belton, father of Liam Belton RHA.
He has exhibited with Independent Artists, and rugby legend Dr.Karl Mullen opened his first exhibition at the Project Gallery many years ago. Since then he has shown regularly at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Academy. He also has had solo exhibitions at the Hendriks and Taylor Galleries in Dublin and at Austin – Desmond Fine Art in London. His most recent solo show at the Peppercanister Gallery was in 2004. It received exceptional critical appreciation.
His very individual colour sense and quirky compositional style, with its powerful horizontal and diagonal rhythms, have appealed to many connoisseurs who have purchased his work, and watch his unique development with keen interest. Private collectors of his art include Sir Basil Goulding, Gordon Lambert and Patrick J. Murphy, as well as fellow artists Liam Belton RHA, Michael Kane and Patrick Pye RHA. He was included in an exhibition of modern Irish Art in Brussels in 1990, titled Images from Ireland, organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs. His paintings are also in the public collections of The Ulster Museum, The Arts Council of Ireland, the Office of Public Works, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.