Daniel O'Neill (painter)
The son of an electrician, and himself an electrician by trade, O'Neill was largely self-taught, although he briefly attended Belfast College of Art life classes, before working with and studying under fellow Belfast artist Sidney Smith. He quickly developed an expressionist technique, and strong romanticism, with imagery, often full of pathos, evoking the themes of love, life and death.
The start of his painting career coincided with the outbreak of World War II and after the 1941 Belfast Blitz he salvaged wood and experimented with wood carving. O'Neill's first exhibition was at the Mol Gallery in Belfast in 1941. Within five years, Dublin art dealer Victor Waddington became involved, resulting in O'Neill having a regular income which allowed him to give up his day-job as an electrician, and focus on painting full-time. In 1946 he sold 21 pictures out of 23 at an exhibition at the Waddington Galleries in Dublin and from then on exhibited regularly. In 1949 he visited Paris and was influenced by Georges Rouault, Maurice de Vlaminck and Maurice Utrillo. A number of works followed on which his reputation largely rests, including: Place du Tertre (1949), The Blue Skirt (1949), Knockalla Hills, Donegal (1951) and Birth (1952). His later work, largely brighter in colour, was seen by critics as less successful. In 1951 his work was shown in the Tooth Galleries, London and he also exhibited there with Colin Middleton in 1954.
In the 1950s, O'Neill moved from Belfast to Conlig, County Down, where there was a small artist's colony that also included George Campbell and Gerard Dillon. Along with Colin Middleton, Gerard Dillon and George Campbell he was one of a group of artists who respected each other’s work and kept in touch over the course of their careers. However, after the closure of the Waddington Gallery in Dublin, O’Neill found it difficult to exist as a painter. He lived in London from 1958 to 1971 and his work in this period was increasingly introspective and often desolate. In 1970 George McClelland invited O’Neill to exhibit a one-man show, Recent Paintings, at his Belfast gallery, and provided O'Neill with accommodation and a studio to work in. It was his first one-man show in 18 years and was a complete sell out. However, this return to good fortune was not sustained as McClelland Galleries was badly affected by the civil unrest in Belfast in the early 1970s. O'Neill returned to Belfast in 1971, where he died in 1974.
During his lifetime, O'Neill's works were primarily exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy. More recently, some of his paintings were shown at the Irish Museum of Modern Art as part of a 2005 exhibition of Northern Irish artists.
- Place du Tertre (1949)
- The Blue Skirt (1949)
- Knockalla Hills, Donegal (1951)
- Western Landscape (1951)
- Birth (1952)
- The Artist's Studio
- Belfast after the Riot
- Bride and Groom
- The Clown
- Cottages, Connemara
- December in Donegal
- Figure in a Landscape, Donegal
- Figures in a Landscape
- The First Born
- Girl with a Red Bow (sold for Euro185,000 in 2005)
- Girl with Blossoms
- Girl with Doves
- The Reed Stooks
- Mountain Road, County Kerry
- The Pearl Necklace
- The Pose
- Studio Interior
- Sunday Afternoon
- Mol Gallery, Belfast (1941)
- Tooth Galleries, London (1951)
- Tooth Galleries, London (1954) (with Colin Middleton)
- Recent Paintings, McClelland Galleries (1970)
- Royal Hibernian Academy
- Irish Museum of Modern Art (2005)
- "Gerard Dillon,Art and Friendships" Adams Auctioneers Summer 2013
Work in collections
- Ulster Museum
- Queen's University, Belfast
- Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Art, Dublin
- The Taylor Gallery
- Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
- Lalor, Brian (ed) (2003). The Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & Macmillan. pp. 831–832. ISBN 0-7171-3000-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- "Daniel O'Neill". Whytes - Irish Artists Biographies. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- "Arts Council Collection Artists - Daniel O'Neill". Arts Council of Northern Ireland (website). Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- Catherine Marshall. "Northern Artists from the McClelland Collection". Irish Museum of Modern Art exhibition brochure. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- Clare McAndrew (March 2006). "The Irish Art Market in 2006" (PDF). The Investor. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- Karen Reihill "Gerard Dillon, Art and Friendships" published by Adams Auctioneers (www.adams.ie) Dublin Summer 2013 http://www.adams.ie/cat-pdf/20713.pdf