SIR WILLIAM ORPEN RA RI RHA
b. Dublin 1878 d. London 1931
Works   |   Exhibitions featuring Sir William Orpen RA RI RHA
Born in Dublin, William Orpen studied at the city's Metropolitan School of Art and later at the Slade School, London, where his contempories included Augustus John and Wyndham Lewis. In 1902, he opened an art school in Chelsea with John and also began teaching in Dublin at the Metopolitian School, a position which he held until 1904. He became a much saught atfter and extremely portrait painter and was a friend of the collector, Hugh Lane, with whom he travelled to Paris and Madrid in 1905. Three years later, he began to exhibit regularly at the Royal Academy, London. He was elected RHA in 1907 and RA in 1919. In 1917, orpen was appointed official war artist by the British Government and the same year was knighted for his achievements. After the ending of the Great War in 1918, he resumed his very succesful portrait practice which continued until his death in 1931. The National Gallery of Ireland held a retrospective exhibition of the artists work in 1978 and 2005 and as well as being the subject of a 1981 biography by Bruce Arnold,  Orpen: Mirror to an Age  and of the RTE television documentary William Orpen: Painter, 1878 - 1931, from the same year. Arnold wrote a smaller publication on the artist in 1991 which is part of the Lives of Irish Artists series.  His work can be found in many public collections worldwide including the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, the National Gallery of Ireland, the City of Manchester Art Galleries, the Imperial War Museum (London), the National Gallery of Scotland, the National Portrait Gallery (London), the Tate Britain (London), the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool), the National Museum of Stockholm and the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.

Source: AIB Art -  a selection from the AIB Collection of Modern Irish, published by  AIB Group Public Affairs, Dublin, 1995.
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