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Sean Scully

Sean Scully

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Sean Scully is an Irish-born American painter
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and printmaker
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

 who has twice been named a Turner Prize
Turner Prize
The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50. Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised...

 nominee. His work is collected in major museums worldwide.

Life and work

Scully was born in Dublin and raised in South London. He studied at Croydon College of Art and Newcastle University. He was a recipient of a graduate fellowship at Harvard in the early 1970s and subsequently settled in New York.

Scully was nominated for the Turner Prize
Turner Prize
The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50. Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain. Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom's most publicised...

 in 1989 and 1993. He has exhibited widely in Europe and the United States, and is represented in the permanent collections of a number of museums and public galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., The Art Institute of Chicago, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the National Gallery of Australia, the Tate Gallery, London, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and many other private and public collections worldwide. In 2006 Scully donated eight of his paintings to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, which opened an extension that year with a room dedicated to Scully's works.

In 2005 to 2006, Scully's Wall of Light series was displayed at museums across the United States. The work originated in a trip Scully took to Mexico in 1983. He combines abstract works with figures.
Nowadays Scully lives and works in New York City, Barcelona, and Munich.

He was a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich
Academy of Fine Arts, Munich
The Academy of Fine Arts, Munich was founded 1808 by Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria in Munich as the "Royal Academy of Fine Arts" and is one of the oldest and most significant art academies in Germany...

Description of work

Scully's paintings are often made up of a number of panels and are abstract
Abstract art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

. Scully paints in oils
Oil paint
Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

, sometimes laying the paint on quite thickly to create textured surfaces. After a brief initial period of hard-edge painting Scully abandoned the masking tape while retaining his characteristic motif of the stripe which he has developed and refined over time. His paintings typically involve architectural constructions of abutting walls and panels of painted stripes. In recent years he has augmented his trademark stripes by also deploying a mode of compositional patterning more reminiscent of a checkerboard. He has stated that this style represents the way in which Ireland has moved towards a more chequered society. He stated in 2006, "I remember growing up in Ireland and everything being chequered, even the fields and the people."

Works in collections

  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the largest museums in the United States, attracting over one million visitors a year. It contains over 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas...

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

    , New York
  • The Museum of Modern Art
    Museum of Modern Art
    The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

    , New York
  • The Guggenheim Museum
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a well-known museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States. It is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions...

    , New York
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
    Art Institute of Chicago
    The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

  • The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., including
  • The Smithsonian American Art Museum
    Smithsonian American Art Museum
    The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a museum in Washington, D.C. with an extensive collection of American art.Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum has a broad variety of American art that covers all regions and art movements found in the United States...

    , Washington D.C.
  • The Corcoran Gallery of Art
    Corcoran Gallery of Art
    The Corcoran Gallery of Art is the largest privately supported cultural institution in Washington, DC. The museum's main focus is American art. The permanent collection includes works by Rembrandt, Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas, Thomas Gainsborough, John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, Pablo...

    , Washington D.C.
  • The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
  • The Albright-Knox Art Gallery
    Albright-Knox Art Gallery
    The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is an art museum located in Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York. The gallery is a major showplace for modern art and contemporary art. It is located directly across the street from Buffalo State College.-History:...

    , Buffalo
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts
    Minneapolis Institute of Arts
    The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a fine art museum located in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on a campus that covers nearly 8 acres , formerly Morrison Park...

    , Minneapolis
  • Walker Art Center
    Walker Art Center
    The Walker Art Center is a contemporary art center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The Walker is considered one of the nation's "big five" museums for modern art along with the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Hirshhorn...

    , Minneapolis
  • The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
    Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
    The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth was first granted a Charter from the State of Texas in 1892 as the "Fort Worth Public Library and Art Gallery", evolving through several name changes and different facilities in Fort Worth...

  • The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
    Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
    The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in the city of San Francisco and one of the largest art museums in California.-External...

  • The National Gallery of Australia
    National Gallery of Australia
    The National Gallery of Australia is the national art gallery of Australia, holding more than 120,000 works of art. It was established in 1967 by the Australian government as a national public art gallery.- Establishment :...

    , Canberra
  • Museo Nacional Reina Sofía
    Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
    The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is the official name of Spain's national museum of 20th century art . The museum was officially inaugurated on September 10, 1992 and is named for Queen Sofia of Spain...

    , Madrid
  • Tate Modern
    Tate Modern
    Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London, England. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group . It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year...

    , London
  • The Irish Museum of Modern Art
    Irish Museum of Modern Art
    The Irish Museum of Modern Art also known as IMMA, is Ireland's leading national institution exhibiting and collecting modern and contemporary art. The museum opened in May 1991 and is located in Royal Hospital Kilmainham, a 17th-century building near Heuston Station to the west of Dublin's city...

    , Dublin
  • The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, including
  • Nagoya City Art Museum
    Nagoya City Art Museum
    The Nagoya City Art Museum is located in the city of Nagoya in central Japan.The museum building itself was constructed by Kisho Kurokawa, one of the leading Japanese architects, from 1983-1987....

    , Japan
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
    Art Gallery of Ontario
    Under the direction of its CEO Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO embarked on a $254 million redevelopment plan by architect Frank Gehry in 2004, called Transformation AGO. The new addition would require demolition of the 1992 Post-Modernist wing by Barton Myers and Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg...

    , Toronto.
  • Boca Raton Museum of Art
    Boca Raton Museum of Art
    The Boca Raton Museum of Art is located at 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, Florida in Mizner Park. It houses works of art by a number of the great masters.-About:...

    , Boca Raton


  • Dorothy Walker (2002), Scully, Seán in Brian Lalor (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillian, 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.

External links