Sean Scully

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Sean Scully
Born (1945-06-30) 30 June 1945 (age 78)
Dublin, Ireland
EducationCroydon College of Art (1965–1968)
Newcastle University (1968–1972)

Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University (1972–1973) (graduate fellowship)[2]
Known forPainting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, art and writing
MovementGeometric abstraction and emotional abstraction

Sean Scully RA (born 30 June 1945) is an Irish-born American-based artist working as a painter, printmaker, sculptor and photographer. His work is held in museum collections worldwide and he has twice been named a Turner Prize nominee. Moving from London to New York in 1975, Scully helped lead the transition from Minimalism to Emotional abstraction in painting, abandoning the reduced vocabulary of Minimalism in favor of a return to metaphor and spirituality in art.

Scully has also been a lecturer and professor at a number of universities and his writing and teachings are collected in the 2016 book, Inner: The Collected Writings and Selected Interviews of Sean Scully.

Early life[edit]

Sean Scully was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 30 June 1945.[3] Four years later his family moved to London where they lived in a working-class part of south London, moving from lodging to lodging for a number of years.[4] By the age of 9, Scully knew he wanted to become an artist, and from the age of 15 until he was 17, Scully was apprenticed at a commercial printing shop in London as a typesetter, an experience that greatly influenced the art to come.[5]

From the age of 17 until he turned 20, despite working full-time in various jobs including graphic design, and messenger, Scully attended evening classes at the Central School of Art, focused on figurative painting.[6] While working a stint as a plasterer's labourer on the Victoria Station Ballroom, Scully made daily visits to the Tate Milbank to visit Van Gogh's Chair (1888), which made an impression on him.[7] In 1963, at the age of 18, Scully had a job loading trucks with flattened boxes at a cardboard factory.[8] The idea of stacking central to much of his work came from this experience.[9]


In September 1965 Sean Scully, age 20, began to study full-time at Croydon College of Art, London, before moving on to Newcastle University in 1968.[10] At Newcastle University, the University Theatre's production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot made a lasting impact on him.[11] Scully was also influenced by a trip to Morocco in 1969, where he became fascinated by the multi-colored stripes locals wove into wool tents and robes.[12][13] Scully was awarded the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship in 1972 to attend Harvard University.[14] It was during this first stay in the US that Scully began to experiment with new techniques such as tape and spray paint.[15]


Early career: 1970–1980[edit]

Scully's first commercial show, at the Rowan Gallery in London, sold out. During this period Scully taught at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, and Goldsmith's, while continuing to paint in his Elephant Lane studio in Rotherhithe. In 1975, at the age of 30, Scully was awarded a two-year Harkness Fellowship with which he moved to New York.[16]

Once in New York he began to develop important friendships with fellow artists such as Robert Ryman, and others in academic and artistic circles. Scully's response in the 1970s had been to bring the objectives of American Minimalism together with those of Op art, an important current in Europe, creating works using overlays and “supergrids” that bridged these two artistic movements in a new way.[17] Once in New York, Minimalism had a strong influence on his work, and for a few years Scully's palette was reduced to the grey monochrome ‘Black paintings’ series.[18]

Scully began working on the series known as The Catherine Paintings in 1979, while sharing his Duane Street studio with his third wife, the artist Catherine Lee. The idea behind the series was to choose the important painting Scully produced during each year together, that would then become part of a collection named after her.[19] This was the beginning of Sean's own private collection of his work.[13]

Departure from Minimalism: 1980–1982[edit]

Backs and Fronts, 1981, oil on linen and canvas. Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.

By 1980 Scully considered himself to be at war with the movement of Minimalism in New York and wanted to bring more human elements into his art.[20] He made multiple trips to Morocco and Mexico during this time, as he considered these trips to have “a direct bearing on what I think art should be doing – which is concentrating on what’s interesting, engaging, perverse, and beautiful about human nature.”[21] He later commented that “I had decided that what had been stripped out of painting—i.e., the ability to make relationships, to be metaphorical and referential, spiritual, poetic, all those things and aspects of human nature—had to be put back in if painting was to go forward.”[22] In 1981 the first retrospective of Sean Scully's work was held at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham.[23] This was also the year that Scully's confidence to withdraw from an adherence to Minimalism became apparent, with the return of color and space, and the freehand drawing of stripes and visible brushstrokes, rather than the hard lines of tape.[24] Scully had a breakthrough with the seminal 1981 painting Backs and Fronts, which had a profound impact in the 1982 exhibition 'Critical Perspectives' at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center.[25] This was a watershed painting which British conceptual artist Gillian Wearing has said “broke the logjam of American minimalist painting”.[26]

Geometric Abstraction: 1982–present[edit]

In 1982 Scully began to work with the gallerist David McKee, an important relationship that lasted for a decade. During the summer of that year, Scully started producing small multi-panel works on found pieces of wood while staying in Montauk at the Edward Albee artist's colony. These works were titled Ridge, Plum, and Bear after the islands that surround Long Island. He also began applying a combination of rigid geometry and expressive texture and color to larger paintings that year. A prime example of this was Heart of Darkness, inspired by the 1899 novella of the same name.[18] Scully began collaborating with Mohammad O. Khalil in 1983, this was the first time he had collaborated with a printmaker and was the start of a career-long commitment to printmaking.

In 1984, the Museum of Modern Art included Scully in their International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture. The following year Scully's first American solo museum exhibition was held at the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute in 1985, and traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Other major museums also began to acquire Scully's large-scale paintings, despite the dominant trend of the time tending towards Postmodernism. Scully's paintings from this period are heavy and physical in terms of both size and aesthetic, and make use of large-scale stretchers.[27]

By 1987, Scully's work became less complex, flatter and smaller in scale, and began to include lighter color palettes beginning with Pale Fire in 1988. The same year, while experimenting with watercolors on a beach in Mexico, Scully created the first image that would become an extended meditation on architecture and light with the Wall of Light series.[28] In 1989 the Whitechapel Gallery in London held a solo exhibition for Scully, which then traveled to Palacio Velázquez in Madrid and to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich. These were Scully's first solo exhibitions in mainland Europe. The art critic Robert Hughes' 1989 piece for TIME magazine cemented Scully's increasing reputation.[29]

The painting Why and What (Yellow) in 1988 was the first to incorporate an inset element of steel. By 1991 Scully expanded the use of steel, setting oil on linen insets into large steel panels. He also began the regular use of a checkerboard motif at this time, first hinted at in his Taped and Hidden Drawing paintings of the mid-1970s. In 1992, while teaching at Harvard University, Sean Scully revisited Morocco to film the BBC documentary The Artist's Journey: Sean Scully on Henri Matisse, with Matisse having visited Morocco in 1912 - 1913. 1993 saw the first exhibition of The Catherine Paintings, at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. In 1994 he opened a second studio in Barcelona, and he returned to Morocco in 1995, to spend more time in the country. Atlas Walls is a portfolio of Scully's photographic works taken during this trip.[30]

In 1995 Scully returned to New York, moving into a large new studio in Chelsea, Manhattan. Chelsea Wall was the first painting to be made there.[31] Scully received a number of invitations to speak at academic institutions, and participated in the Joseph Beuys lectures on the state of contemporary art in Britain, Europe and the US, held by the Ruskin School at Oxford University, England. In 1997, Scully's photography was exhibited for the first time at the Sala de Exposiciones Rekalde in Bilbao, Spain.

Scully participated in a colloquium in conjunction with the exhibition Richard Pousette-Dart at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1998. He visited Santo Domingo in 1999, resulting in the photography portfolio Santa Domingo for Nené. That year, Scully's prints were given a retrospective at the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, in Vienna, Austria, and the Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe Originale in Gravelines. A catalogue raisonné of his prints from 1969 - 1999 was also published.

2001 - 2013[edit]

In 2001, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth acquired the complete Catherine series, eighteen paintings that each represent a year from the period 1979–1996, which was given a dedicated room for permanent exhibition in the new Museum building opened in 2002.[27] In 2002 Scully was appointed Professor of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, a position he held through to 2007. A retrospective exhibition opened in 2004 at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere, Finland, which travelled to Klassik Stiftung Weimar, in Germany, and the National Gallery of Australia. While in Australia, Scully spent time traveling through the red desert interior.

Raval Rojo, 2004, oil on linen, 92 x 102 cm, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin

Between 2005 - 2006, Sean Scully's Wall of Light series was displayed at museums around the United States. This began with the exhibition Sean Scully: Wall of Light opened at The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., and traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and finally the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art to great acclaim.[32] The same year Scully travelled with a group of students from the Art Academy in Munich, to Inisheer, an island off the Irish coast. It was here that the Aran portfolio of photographs were taken. In 2006 the Hugh Lane Gallery opened The Sean Scully Room, a dedicated, permanent installation of the artist's work, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France held an exhibition of his prints.[33] Sean Scully: A Retrospective opened in 2007 at the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, and travelled to the Musée d'art moderne (Saint-Étienne), and the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO) in Rome.[34] The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. invited Scully to give the Elson Lecture in 2007.[35]

The retrospective exhibition Constantinople or the Sensual Concealed: The Imagery of Sean Scully opened in 2009 at the MKM Museum Küppersmühlefür Moderne Kunst, in Duisburg, Germany, and traveled to the Ulster Museum, Belfast.[36][37] In 2010 a tour of important early works from the 1980s started at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Carlow, Ireland, and then traveled to the Leeds Art Gallery, and the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen am Rhein. In 2011 the Chazen Museum of Art opened their new expansion of the museum with a solo exhibition of Scully's eight-part Liliane paintings on aluminum, and other works. Scully opened nine more solo museum exhibitions in 2012, including Notations: Sean Scully at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as exhibitions at museums like MIMA, Kunstmuseum Bern, the Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz, and IVAM in Valencia, Spain.

Reception in China and new projects: 2014–2017[edit]

In 2014, Scully opened a new studio space set in three acres in Tappan, New York, where he continued to extend the Landline series of painting begun in 2000.[38] That same year, Scully opened fourteen solo exhibitions around the world, including the first major retrospective by a western artist in China. The exhibition, entitled Follow the Heart: The Art of Sean Scully, opened in Beijing.[39] The exhibition included China Piled-Up, a new monumental sculpture in corten-steel, and traveled from the Shanghai Himalayas Museum to the CAFA Art Museum in Beijing, to critical acclaim.[40] Another outdoor sculpture Boxes Full of Air was commissioned at Chateau La Coste in France.

Landline Orient, 2016. Private collection.

Scully participated in the Venice Biennale for the first time, in 2015, with the solo exhibition Land Sea at the Palazzo Falier in Venice.[41] The Museum Liaunig, in Neuhaus, Austria, opened its new building expansion with Sean Scully: Painting as an Imaginative World Appropriation.[42] To honor his long-term friendship with art critic Arthur Danto who died in 2013, Scully published the book Danto on Scully, bringing together the series of five essays Danto had written on the artist over the previous 20 years.[43]

In 2015 Scully completed his restoration of the 10th Church of Santa Cecília de Montserrat in Spain, and opened it to the public. Commissioned by the Museum of Montserrat to make a holistic artistic intervention in the sacred space, Scully not only permanently installed paintings but worked on site-specific frescoes, and the design of the altar and cross. The chapel is now both a working church, and also the Espai d’Art Sean Scully.[44] Scully was awarded the V Congreso Asociacion Protecturi for his contribution to Spanish religious heritage

Crate of Air, 2018. At the Inside Outside exhibition in Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2018.

In 2016 Scully's second major exhibition in China, Sean Scully: Resistance and Persistence, opened at the Art Museum of the Nanjing University of the Arts, and travelled to the Guangdong Museum and the Hubei Museum in Wuhan.[40] In the same year, as well as solo museum exhibitions in České Budějovice, Czech Republic, and Valencia, Spain, the artist put together two exhibitions of works from specific early periods in his private collection, one of works from the 1970s, in an off-site space in Ridgewood, Queens with Cheim & Read, and another of works from the 1980s with Mnuchin Gallery. Inspired by revisiting his earlier works, Scully began to reemploy techniques such as spray painting, that he first introduced in the late 1960s.

Over the course of 2015–2017, Scully's work expanded in two particular directions: sculpture and figuration. During this period, Scully began working on sculptural projects, including the Tower series using various materials such as corten steel, marble, and stainless steel, and the Stack series in both raw and painted steel were introduced. A new series of Block paintings were begun, in which Scully self-referenced his sculpture in paint. This new direction was the focus of the solo exhibition Wall of Light Cubed at Cheim & Read, NY.[45] Scully also revisited his early exploration in figuration from the late 1960s in a series of figurative paintings titled Eleuthera which was completed between 2015 and 2017. The series was inspired by Scully's son Oisin, and was named after the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas and the feminine Greek adjective ἐλεύθερος (eleútheros), meaning "free".[46]


2018 saw Scully have a total of fourteen public exhibitions around the world. This included the installation of the monumental sculpture Boxes of Air in the Cuadra San Cristóbal, in Mexico City, along with paintings installed in the horse stalls of the iconic pink stable block. Other museum shows included: Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; Hatton and Laing Galleries, Newcastle, UK; De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands; Russian Museum, St Petersburg, Russia; Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK, among many others.[47]

Opulent Ascension, 2019, sculpture. Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice.

In 2019, the exhibition Sean Scully: Sea Star opened at The National Gallery, London, showcasing Scully's work alongside works by J. M. W. Turner.[48] On April 6, 2019, director Nick Willing's documentary film Unstoppable. Sean Scully & The Art of Everything aired nationally in the UK on BBC Two. For the 58th Venice Biennale, Scully presented Sean Scully: Human at the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore, an exhibition of recent paintings and a new sculpture titled Opulent Ascension under the dome of the High Renaissance church by Palladio.[49][50]

Critical reception[edit]

Arthur Danto wrote that “Sean Scully’s name belongs on the shortest of short lists of the major painters of our time”,[51] continuing that “Scully’s historical importance lies in the way he has brought the great achievement of Abstract Expressionist painting into the contemporary moment - and in a way overcome the terms of the paragon that sent painting into exile.”[52]

Prizes and awards[edit]

Scully has been a member of Aosdána since 2001, and the Royal Academy of Arts since 2013. Scully received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from both Massachusetts College of Art and the National University of Ireland in 2003, and a Doctor of Letters degree from Newcastle University.[14] He received an Honorary Doctorate from Miguel Hernández University in 2006 and 2008.

List of awards and prizes, including year, association, and result
Year Award Result
1970 Peter Stuyvesant Foundation Prize Won
1972 John Moores Painting Prize 2nd place prize
1974 John Moores Painting Prize 4th place prize
1975 Harkness Fellowship Won
1983 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Won
Guggenheim Fellowship Won
1989 Turner Prize Nominated
1993 Turner Prize Nominated
2000 Honorary Fellow of the London Institute of Arts & Letters Won
2015 V Congreso Asociacion Protecturi Won
2016 GAC Honorary Award[53] Won
Harper's Bazaar International Artist of the Year Award Won

Other works[edit]


Scully's mother Holly was a Vaudeville singer, and Sean Scully became heavily influenced by rhythm and blues in his adolescence. Scully owned and ran an R&B Club as a teenager in South London, and was briefly in an R&B band with his brother and a friend.[54]

In 2016 the percussionist Billy Martin from the band Medeski Martin & Wood made a performative collaboration with Sean Scully's monumental corten steel sculpture Boxes of Air at Scully's Tappan studio. It culminated in ‘Boxing for Sean’, a 6 movement percussion composition performed live outdoors.[55]

In 2019 the duo Merzouga released a 46' sound-composition "The Language of Light - Music to the Work of Sean Scully" (YLE/DLF 2019) featuring the texts and the voice of Sean Scully.[56] Its premiere broadcast was on Dec 3, 2019 at 9pm local time on Finnish broadcaster Yleisradio. German nationwide broadcaster Deutschlandfunk co-produced the piece, the German broadcast is scheduled for February 2020


Scully first began writing about art and his own work in the 1980s, although he only truly began to include writing as part of his practice from 1996 onwards. 2016 saw the publication of Inner: the collected writings and selected interviews of Sean Scully, by HatjeCantz

Personal life[edit]

Scully became a father at the age of 19, with the birth of his son Paul on May 7, 1965. Paul later died in a car accident in 1983 at the age of 18.[57] While at Newcastle University, Scully met Rosemary Purnell, a fellow student in the Painting Department, they married in 1971 and later divorced.[19] Scully married artist Catherine Lee in 1978, the two divorced in 1998. In 2006, he married artist Liliane Tomasko, his fourth wife.[58] Their son Oisin Scully was born in 2009.

Public Collections[edit]

United States and South America[edit]





Selected works about Scully[edit]

List of works about Sean Scully showing year and language of publication, and publisher
Year Title Author Publisher
1990 Sean Scully
  • English
Maurice Poirier Hudson Hills Press
1991 Sean Scully: Prints from the Garner Tullis Workshop
  • English
David Carrier Garner Tullis
2004 Sean Scully
  • English
David Carrier Thames and Hudson
The Color of Time. The Photographs of Sean Scully
  • English
Arthur Danto

Mila Finemane

Edward Lucie-Smith

2006 Sean Scully
  • French
Philippe Monsel Éditions Cercle D’Art
2007 Sean Scully
  • Spanish
Pilar Escanerode Miguel Thames and Hudson
Glorious Dust
  • English
John Yau Steidl
2009 Kunstwerkstatt Sean Scully
  • German
Helmut Friedel Prestel Verlag
2015 Danto on Scully
  • English
Daniel Herwitz and Arthur Danto HatjeCantzVerlag/Cheim and Read
2017 Painting Earns Its Stripes’ and other essays
  • English/Chinese
Arthur Danto Shanghai Fine Arts Publisher

Selected works by Sean Scully[edit]

List of works by Sean Scully showing year and language of publication, co-authors, and publisher
Year Title Co-author(s) Publisher
1998 Mark Rothko: Corps de Lumière
  • French
  • 31 pages
2006 Sean Scully: Resistance and Persistence: Selected Writings
  • English
Florence Ingleby Merrell Publishers
2007 Sean Scully: Walls of Aran
  • English
Colm Tóibín Thames and Hudson
Sean Scully: Cuerpos de luz/Bodies of Light
  • English/Spanish
Fundación Juan March
2008 Sean Scully: La surface peinte
  • French
Daniel Lelong Éditeur
2016 Inner: The Collected Writings and Selected Interviews of Sean Scully
  • English
Kelly Grovier Hatje Cantz Verlag
2019 Sean Scully: Walls of Aran, Compact Edition
  • English
Colm Tóibín Thames and Hudson

Solo and two person exhibition catalogues[edit]

Year Author Exhibition Publisher
1975 William Feaver Sean Scully. Paintings 1974 La Tortue Gallery, Santa Monica
1981 Joseph Masheck, Sam Hunter Sean Scully. Paintings 1971-1981 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
1985 John Caldwell, David Carrier, Amy Lighthill Sean Scully Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute
1986 Joseph Masheck Sean Scully. Paintings 1985-1986 David McKee Gallery
1987 Pamela Auchincloss Sean Scully. Monotypes from the Garner Tullis Workshop Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, New York
Mari Rantanen Sean Scully/Harvey Quaytman Helsinki Festival, Helsinki
Susanne Lambrecht Sean Scully Galerie Schmela/Mayor Rowan Gallery, Düsseldorf/London
1988 Neil Benezra Sean Scully Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
John Loughery Sean Scully Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo
1989 Sean Scully. Paintings 1987-1988 David McKee Gallery, New York
Carter Ratcliff Sean Scully. Paintings and Works on Paper 1982-88 Whitechapel Gallery, London
1990 Sean Scully. Paintings 1989-1990 David McKee Gallery, New York
Sean Scully. Monotypes from the Garner Tullis Workshop
Sean Scully Galerie De France, Paris
Sean Scully/Donald Sultan: Abstraction/Representation Stanford University Museum of Art, Stanford
1991 Carter Ratcliff Sean Scully Jamileh Weber Gallery, Zurich
1992 Sean Scully. Woodcuts Garner Tullis, New York
Paul Bonaventura Sean Scully Waddington Custot, London
1993 Carter Ratcliff, Arthur Danto, Steven Henry Madoff Sean Scully. The Catherine Paintings Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth
Armin Zweite Sean Scully. Paintings and Works on Paper Galerie Bernd Klüser, Munich
1994 Demetrio Paparoni Sean Scully. The light in the darkness Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo
Francisco Jarauta Sean Scully. Obragráfica 1991-1994 Galeria DV, San Sebastian
1995 Jean Frémon Sean Scully. “Place.” Galerie Lelong, Paris
Hans-Michael Herzong Sean Scully. The Catherine Paintings Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld
Enrique Juncosa Sean Scully Waddington Galleries, London
Ned Rifkin, Victoria Combalia, Lynne Cooke, Armin Zweite Sean Scully. Twenty Years, 1976-1995 High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Ned Rifkin Sean Scully. Twenty Years, 1976-1995 Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC
Bernd Klüser and Sean Scully Sean Scully. The Beauty of the Real Gallerie Bernd Klüser, Munich
1996 Hans-Michael Herzog Sean Scully. “Catherine Paintings” aquarelles Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Victoria Combalia and Engrique Juncosa Sean Scully Galleria Carles Taché, Barcelona
Demetrio Paparoni, Sean Scully Sean Scully. Obra Gràfica Recent Galeria D’art, Barcelona
Danilo Eccher, David Carrier, Hans-Michael Herzog Sean Scully Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan/Charta, Bologna/Milan:
Jean-Louis Schefer, Xavier Girard, Arthur Danto Sean Scully Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris
Ned Rifkin, Victoria Combalia, Lynne Cooke, Armin Zweite Sean Scully. Vintanys, 1976-1995 Fundació la Caixa, Barcelona
Sean Scully. ZwanzigJahre, 1976-1995 Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
Michael Semff, Arthur Danto, and Mario-Andreas von Lüttichau Sean Scully. Works on Paper Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, Munich
1997 Mark Glazebrook and Irving Sandler Sean Scully. Paintings Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester
Armin Zweite Sean Scully Galeria DV, San Sebastian
Francisco Jarauta, Kevin Power, Jean-Louis Schefer Sean Scully Sala de Exposiciones REKALDE, Bilbao
Jean Frémon Sean Scully Galerie Lelong, Paris
1998 Francisco Jarauta Sean Scully Galería Antonia Puyó, Zaragoza
Jean Frémon Échiquier du rêve L’Échoppe, Paris
Jérôme Sans Lawrence Carroll and Sean Scully. Lawing Gallery, Houston
Sean Scully Galerie Bernd Klüser, Munich
Helmut Friedel, Hans-Michael Herzog Sean Scully BAWAG, Vienna
Sean Scully Galerie Haas and Fuchs, Berlin
1999 Edward Lucie-Smith, Hans-Michael Herzog Sean Scully South London Gallery, London
John Yau Sean Scully Galerie Lelong, Paris
John Yau, Hans-Michael Herzog Sean Scully. New Paintings and Works on Paper Danese/Galerie Lelong, New York
Sean Scully, Federico García Lorca, Bernd Klüser Sean Scully. Barcelona Paintings and Recent Editions Galerie Bernd Klüser, Munich
Kevin Power Sean Scully Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
Victoria Martino, Julia Klüser Sean Scully. Prints: Catalogue Raisonné 1968-1999 Galerie Lelong/Galerie Bernd Klüser, Munich
2000 Francisco Jarauta Sean Scully Galeria Carles Taché, Barcelona
Julia Klüser Sean Scully. Estampes 1983-1999 Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Caen
2001 Sean Scully Sean Scully. Cuaderno de Artista Matador, Madrid
Daniel Abadie Sean Scully. Light to Dark Galerie Lelong, Paris
Armin Zweite, Bernd Klüser, Francisco Jaraunta, Hans-Michael Herzog, Maria Müller Sean Scully. Paintings Pastels Watercolors Photographs 1990-2000 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
Karin Hennig Sean Scully Künstler, München
Arthur Danto Sean Scully. Light and Gravity Knoedler and Company, New York
Sean Scully Coming and Going: A Kata Film Study Center, Harvard University, Cambridge
Michael Auping Sean Scully. Wall of Light/Muro de Luz Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey
2002 Armin Zweite Sean Scully: Óleos Pasteles Acuarelas Fotografías Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Valencia:
Ronaldo Brito Sean Scully. Wall of Light Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro
Fernando Francés Sean Scully Cámera De Comercio De Cantabria, Santander
Ulrich Bischoff Sean Scully zu Gast in der Galerie Neue Meister Galerie Neue Mesiter, Dresden
2003 Maria Lluïsa Borràs i Gonzàlez Sean Scully Galeria Carles Taché, Barcelona
Kevin Power Sean Scully: Wall of Light, Figures Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
Gilles Altieri, Pierre Wat, Francisco Jarauta, Hans-Michael Herzog Sean Scully Hôtel des Arts, Toulon
Timo Vuorikoski, Donald Kuspit, Jürgen Habermas Sean Scully Sara Hildén Art Husem, Tampere
2004 Michael Peppiatt Sean Scully. Winter Robe Galerie Lelong, Paris
Florian Steinberg, Wilhelm Christoph Warning Sean Scully and John Groom Galerie 422, Gmunden
M. J. Balsach Sean Scully. Dedicado a Federico García Lorca Casa, Museo Federico García Lorca, Granada
Brian Kennedy, Jörg Hutter, Timo Vuorikoski, Arthur Danto, Jürgen Habermas, Donald Kuspit, Liliane Tomasko, Shaune A. Lakin Sean Scully. Body of Light National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Enrique Juncosa, Jürgen Habermas, Kevin Power Tigresen el jardín/Tigers in the garden Centro José Guerrero, Granada
2005 Sean Scully Sean Scully Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
William Feaver Sean Scully. Paintings and Works on Paper Abbot Hall Art Gallery/Lakeland Arts, Kendal
Stephen Bennett Phillips, Michael Auping, Anne L. Strauss Sean Scully. Wall of Light The Phillips Collection, Rizzoli/Washington DC/New York
Victoria Combalia, Lowery Stokes Sims Sean Scully. Para García Lorca Sala de Exposiciones Acala 31, Madrid
Marianne Heinz, Liliane Tomasko Sean Scully. Malerie: kleine Formate Staatliche Museen, Kassel
Mia Fineman Sean Scully. Fotografías Galeria Carles Taché, Barcelona
2006 John Yau Sean Scully. Recent Paintings L.A. Louver, Venice
Uwe Wieczorek Sean Scully. Die Architektur der Farbe/The Architecture of Color Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz
Sue Hubbard Sean Scully Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
2007 Danilo Eccher, Lorand Hegyi, Maria Lluïsa Borràs i Gonzàlez, Donald Kuspit Sean Scully: A retrospective Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona/Thames and Hudson, London
2008 Sue Hubbard Sean Scully. La surface peinte Galerie Lelong, Paris
Brian Kennedy Sean Scully. The Art of the Stripe Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover
Sean Scully, Brian Kennedy Sean Scully. The Art of the Stripe. Exhibition Guide
Looking at Sean Scully's Paintings.
2009 Susanne Kleine, Walter Smerling Sean Scully. Konstantinopleoder Die versteckteSinnlichkeit. Die Bilderwelt von Sean Scully Museum Küppersmühle, Munich
Paul Köser Sean Scully Museum Küppersmühle, Duisburg
László Hegyeshalmi, Walter Storms, Helmut Friedel Sean Scully. Emotion and Structure House of Fine Arts/Modern Gallery- László Vass Collection/Walter Storms Gallery, Veszprém/Munich
Tiffany Bell Sean Scully Edizioni Charta, Milan
Hans-Michael Herzog, Mauricio Sotelo, Sean Scully, Florian Steininger Sean Scully Galerie Carles Taché, S. L., Barcelona
2010 Tanja Pirsig-Marshall, Arthur C. Danto and Armin Zweite Sean Scully Works from the 1980s VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art and the George Bernard Shaw Theater, Carlow/Leeds Art Gallery
Richard Ingleby Sean Scully Iona Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
David Cohen Sean Scully Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
Hans Albrecht Lusznat, Björn Kurt Sean Scully: Art Comes from Need Sisyphos Film München, München: DVD/90 min.
2011 Reinhard Spieler, Tanja Pirsig-Marshall, Arthur Danto, Armin Zweite Sean Scully Werkeaus den 1980er Jahren Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen
Lenore D. Miller, Stephen Bennett Phillips Sean Scully: Works on Paper Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, George Washington University, Washington DC
Kelly Grovier Sean Scully: Paintings and Watercolors. Chazen Museum of Art, Madison
Sean Scully, Kelly Grovier Tin Mal/Cut Ground Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
2012 Joanna Kleinberg, Brett Littman Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals Drawing Center, New York
Matthais Frehner, Annick Haldemann, Brigitte Reutner Sean Scully. Grey Wolf-Retrospektive Museum of Fine Arts, Bern
Oscar Humphries, Kelly Grovier, Ben Luke, and Sean Scully Sean Scully: Doric Oliver Wood, London
Kosme de Barañano, Kelly Grovier Sean Scully: Light of the South TF Editores, Madrid
Lóránd Hegyi, Eunmi Lee Sean Scully: The Evocative Capacity of Painting Wooson Gallery, Daegu
2013 Sean Scully The Verey Gallery, Eton College, Windsor
Andrea Leventis Sean Scully: Works from the 70s Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
Joanna Kleinberg, Brett Littman, Colm Tóibín, Peter Benson Miller, Maria Giuseppina Di Monte Change and Horizontals Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome
Sean Scully, Gregory Perry, Simon Martin Triptychs. Sean Scully Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
John Yau Sean Scully. Night and Day Cheim & Read
2014 Jean Frémon, Kelly Grovier, Christos Paridis Sean Scully. Doric Galerie Lelong, Paris
Christopher Lewis, Kelly Grovier, Jacqueline Thalmann Sean Scully Encounters: A New Master among Old Masters Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford
Kelly Grovier, Richard Williams Sean Scully: Kind of Red Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
Sean Scully, Beate Reifenscheid, Marc O’Sullivan Sean Scully. Figure/Abstract Ludwig Museum, Berlin
Sean Scully, Philip Dodd, Ding Yi, Wang Huangsheng, Arthur Danto, Jürgen Habermas, John Yau Follow the Heart. The Art of Sean Scully: 1964-2014 Shanghai Himalayas Museum/CAFA Art Museum, Beijing
Sean Scully Sean Scully. China Piled Up. Sculpture Spec Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
2015 Jacopa Crivelli Viscont, Philip Dodd, Sean Scully Sean Scully: 1974-2015 Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo
Sean Scully, Danilo Eccher, Kelly Grovier, Ben Luke, Hans-Ulrich Obrist Sean Scully Land Sea Venice Biennale, Italy
Declan Long Sean Scully: HOME Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
Sean Rainbird, Kelly Grovier, Lochlann Quinn Sean Scully National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
Kelly Grovier, Bono, Reinhard Spieler, Sean Scully Sean Scully: Bricklayer of the Soul Hatje Cantz Verlag, Germany
Peter Baum Sean Scully. MalereialsWeltaneignung Museum Liauning, Neuhaus, Austria
Kelly Grovier Sean Scully Different Places Château La Coste, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
2016 Sean Scully, Philip Dodd Sean Scully: Resistance and Persistence- Paintings 1967-2015 London and New York Nanjing University of the Arts/Guangdong Museum of Art/Hubei Museum of Art
Javier Molins Scully and Tomasko Fundación Bancaja, Spain
Robert Mnuchin, Sukanya Rajaratnam, Michael McGinniss Sean Scully. The Eighties Mnuchin Gallery, New York
Daniel Abaide Sean Scully. Metal Galerie Lelong, Paris
Timothy Taylor Sean Scully. Horizon Musumeci S. p. A., Italy
2017 Sean Scully, Liliane Tomasko, Florian Steininger, Valeria Waibel beide|both: Sean Scully and Liliane Tomasko. Kustwerk Sammlung Klein, Germany
John Cheim, Pac Pobric, Elle Robinson Sean Scully Cheim & Read
Josep M Soler, Mercè Conesa, Francesc Xavier Altés I Aguiló, Eduard Sánchez, Xavier Guitart Tarrés, Albert Mercadé, Daniel Giralt-Miracle Santa Cecília de Montserrat. Del Segle X A Sean Scully Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, Barcelona
Kelly Grovier, Evgenia Petrova, Olga Sviblova Sean Scully. Facing East Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
2018 Sean Scully, Kelly Grovier, Daniel Garza-Usabiaga, Oscar Humphries Sean Scully, San Cristóbal Oscar Humphries, San Cristóbal
Sukanya Rajaratnam Sean Scully. Wall of Light Mnuchin Gallery, New York
Sean Scully, Frances Spalding, Edward Lucie-Smith, William Feaver, Robert C. Morgan Sean Scully. 1970 Laing Art Gallery and Hatton Gallery/Walker Art Gallery
Kirsten Claudia Voigt, Tanja Pirsig-Marshall Sean Scully Vita Duplex Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe/Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster
Alfredo Cramerotti, Sean Scully Standing on the Edge of the World: Sean Scully Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
Sinéad Morrissey Crossings: Poets respond to the Art of Sean Scully Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, Newcastle University
Rudi Fuchs, Kelly Grovier, Declan Long Sean Scully: Landlines and other recent works, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art,
Melissa Chiu, Patricia Hickson, Kelly Grovier, Stéphane Aquin Sean Scully: Landline Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Books
Harry Blain, Alexander Borovsky, Ben Luke Sean Scully: Uninsideout Blain Southern, London
Marla Price Sean Scully: Catalogue Raisonée of the Paintings, Volume II, 1980-1989 Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in association with Hatje Cantz
2019 Justus Kewenig, Jon Wood, Kirsten Voigt, Sean Scully, Clare Lilley, Peter Murray Sean Scully. Sculpture HatjeCantz
Carmelo Grasso, Norberto Villa, Kelly Grovier, Javier Molins Sean Scully. Human Abazzia di San Giorgio Maggiore, Skira
Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Werner Spies, Sean Scully, Elizabeth Dutz, Kelly Grovier Sean Scully: Eleuthera Albertina/Kerber Art Verlag
Anna Bernardini, Kelly Grovier, Marta Spanevello Sean Scully: Long Light FAI Villa Panza, Magonza
Daniel F. Herrmann, Colin Higgins Sean Scully at the National Gallery: Sea Star National Gallery Company, London
Alcalde de Malaga, Helena Juncosa, Sean Scully, Werner Spies Sean Scully: Eleuthera Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga


  • “Art, especially abstraction: has to be a moral act. If not it’s likely to fall into bed with decoration.”[59]
  • “Why stripes? Because they can be anything. And they can be anything because they are nothing. To make nothing into something is more interesting that making something into something else. The association with the devil notwithstanding”[60]
  • “Artistic culture, to me, is like a huge rug that is constantly folded and unfolded by us. Every time it’s turned over, turned out, unfolded: it shows something new or something overlooked that now seems new.”[61]


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  3. ^ Hubbard, Sue (17 August 2007). "Scully, Sean: Wall of Light Desert Night (1999)". The Independent. Archived from the original on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
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  17. ^ The Aesthete in the City: The Philosophy and Practice of American Abstract Painting in the 1980s. Penn State Press. 1994. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-271-04297-8.
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  30. ^ "'Light from the South' an exhibition by Sean Scully, inspired by Alhambra and Morocco". Islamic Arts Magazine. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
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  61. ^ Scully, Sean (2016). "Fold". Inner: The Collected Writings and Selected Interviews of Sean Scully. p. 268. ISBN 978-3-7757-4164-4. OCLC 994772412.


  • Dorothy Walker (2002). Scully, Seán in Brian Lalor (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-3000-2.
  • Arthur C. Danto (2007). "Architectural Principles in the Art of Sean Scully", Border Crossings: A Magazine of the Arts, vol. 26(3), August 2007, p. 62–67. ISSN 0831-2559.
  • Arthur C. Danto. (2005). "Sean Scully". Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and Life. NY: Columbia University Press. p. 81. ISBN 9780231545723.
  • Joan Marter (2011). "Sean Scully". Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533579-8.
  • David Carrier (1994). The Aesthete in the City: The Philosophy and Practice of American Abstract Painting in the 1980s. Penn State Press. 1994. ISBN 978-0-271-04297-8.
  • Donald Kuspit (2010). "Sacred Sadness: Sean Scully's Abstractions", Psychodrama: Modern Art as Group Therapy. London: Ziggurat. pp. 449–453. ISBN 9780956103895.
  • David Carrier (2008). A World Art History and Its Objects. Penn State Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-271-04579-5.
  • Sean Scully (2016). Inner: The Collected Writings and Selected Interviews of Sean Scully. ISBN 3-7757-4164-X.

External links[edit]