Markey Robinson (Belfast, Northern Ireland – January 28, 1999 (aged 80), Belfast) was a prolific Irish artist with a distinctive naïve expressionist style. His main passion was painting, but he also produced sculptures, and designed some stained glass panels.February 7, 1918, in
He trained at the Belfast College of Art. He was the son of a house painter and spent time as a boxer and as a merchant sailor. His first exhibitions were in Belfast during World War II. He became better known through his exhibitions at the Oriel Gallery in Dublin where over 20 exhibitions were held as well as a steady stream of sales of individual pictures. The Royal Hibernian Academy was another prominent venue for exhibition of his work. He also had a long record of one-man-shows in other venues both in Ireland and elsewhere.
More than 400 Markey Robinson works can be seen in the online archive catalogues of Whytes Irish Art Auctions
His paintings cover a wide range of subjects, but there are certain recurring features. These may appear separately or in combination.
- Village scenes of white cottages in which the white gable end of the cottage is distinctive. Frequently, there are no windows visible in these cottages.
- Women wearing dark shawls - no facial features are visible
- Sailboats, normally with dark brown sails, or sometimes white sails
- Jugs feature prominently in his still life paintings
- Circus clowns
He painted the inhabited countryside with flat muted colour and, in his almost abstract, almost geometrical compositions he seemed to capture the easy relationship between beauty and sadness.
In May 2008, the Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister), Brian Cowen TD, officially opened MARKEY AT THE ORIEL, The Oriel Gallery's Markey Robinson retrospective, featuring Markey paintings (and some rare sculpture) from as far back as the 1950s. He also launched a 160 page book/catalogue on the artist by Paul O'Kelly to accompany the exhibition (also entitled MARKEY AT THE ORIEL).
In recent years his works have become popular and has led to many forgeries appearing as his style is relatively easy to copy. His earlier works are difficult to forge as they are quiet detailed, many of his paintings that appear on eBay are forgeries. Markey was very resourceful in sourcing painting materials and many of his works are on bits of plywood or cardboard discarded by shopkeepers. Toward the end of his life he painted many of the same paintings again and again as he was guaranteed a good prices from them, many of his best works were painted around the 1960s. He never kept any of his paintings. His daughter Annie is also a popular artist and her works are often inspired by Markey. It is estimated that he produced over 10,000 works of art.
- "Markey - 30 years at the Oriel Gallery".. Published by The Oriel Gallery 1997
- "Markey Robinson - A Life: The Retrospective".. Susan Stairs.. published by Shortall Stairs publications 1988
- "Markey at the Oriel".. published by The Oriel Gallery 2008