Nano Reid

(1905 - 1981)

Born in Drogheda, County Louth in 1905, Nano Reid was an Irish landscape artist, figure painter and portraitist. In 1920 she won a scholarship to train at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, now known as the National College of Art and Design, where she studied under Seán Keating and Harry Clarke. In 1925 Reid began to show at the Royal Hibernian Academy and in 1928 traveled to Paris where she spent some time at the Grand Chaumiere academy before heading back to London to study at the Central School under Bernard Meninsky.

In 1931 Reid returned to Ireland, spending the rest of her life in Drogheda, and once again began exhibiting her work at the RHA. She concentrated on painting aspects of local life and landscapes. Her artworks however are in no way bound by a sense of locality, but are accomplished essays in painterly abstraction. She was an artist who used paint intuitively, employing a limited colour palette including browns, greens and ochres and applying the paint with a carefully controlled spontaneity which saw abstraction combine with the figurative.

In 1950, along with Norah Guinness, Reid represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale. This was followed by various other noteworthy shows including the Exhibition of Contemporary Irish Art in Aberstwyth in 1953, the Guggenheim International Award Exhibition in New York in 1960 and the Twelve Irish Painters show in New York in 1963, among many others. In 1972 she won the Douglas Hyde Gold Medal at the Oirachtas for the best history painting, Cave of the Firbolg.

An individual and expressionistic artist, Nano Reid is acknowledged to be one of the finest Irish woman painters of the twentieth-century. Her work is represented in many public and private collections throughout Ireland.

Nano Reid passed away in Drogheda in 1981.