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Nano Reid (1900–1981) was an Irish painter.
“ One of the finest Irish woman painters of the century, her rich but subtly expressionist use of pigment makes her work as relevant today as when she started painting ”
The Irish landscape artist, figure painter and portraitist Nano Reid was born in Drogheda, County Louth. In 1920, she won a scholarship to study fine art painting and drawing at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art - now the National College of Art and Design - under Harry Clarke. At the time, she was - in the words of fellow student Hilda van Stockum - "a fierce redhead... uncompromising and looking for truth". In 1925 she started showing at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), submitting a total of 42 canvases until the late 1960s. In 1928, she went to Paris and enrolled briefly at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, after which she spent a year in London studying fine art at the Central School of Arts and Crafts under Bernard Meninsky.
She returned to Ireland in 1931 and once more began exhibiting her landscape painting at the RHA.
In 1950, with Norah McGuinness, Reid represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale. This was followed by the Exhibition of Contemporary Irish Art in Aberystwyth (1953), and the Mostra Internazionale di Bianco e Nero in Lugano (1956), the Guggenheim International Award Exhibition in New York (1960) and the Twelve Irish Painters show in New York (1963).
In 1974, the Arts Council and the Northern Ireland Arts Council staged a major retrospective of Reid's artworks. She died in Drogheda in 1981.Retrospectives for Reid were held at Taylor Galleries in Dublin (1984), Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda (1991), and at Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar, County Mayo (1999).
An individual, expressionistic artist, Reid is acknowledged to be one of the finest Irish woman painters of twentieth-century visual art in Ireland. Her works are represented in many public collections throughout Ireland.
Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), submitting a total of 42 canvases from 1925-late 1960s.Engineer's Hall (1931) with artists Marion King and Olive Cunningham; a solo exhibition at St Stephen's Green Gallery (1934); a solo show at the Daniel Egan Gallery, Dublin (1936), which was repeated in Drogheda; the Water Colour Society of Ireland (1939). Reid was also involved in portrait art, having her works displayed at the Irish Drawings and Paintings Exhibition in New York (1938), and at the Dublin Painters Exhibition (1939) in Dublin. She continued to show her artworks throughout the 1940s, adding the Oireachtas, Dawson Gallery and Victor Waddington Galleries to her list of venues. During this time, Nano Reid also exhibited her paintings in London: at the Living Irish Art Exhibition at the Leicester Galleries (1946), St George's Gallery (1950), Hanover Gallery (1952).
In 1950, with Nora McGuiness, Reid represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale. This was followed by the Exhibition of Contemporary Irish Art in Aberystwyth (1953), and the Mostra Internazionale di Bianco e Nero in Lugano (1956), the Guggenheim International Award Exhibition in New York (1960) and the Twelve Irish Painters show in New York (1963). On the home front, Reid exhibited in Belfast and several times at the Dawson Gallery in Dublin. At the end of the 1960s she showed at the Hugh Lane Art Gallery. In 1972, she won the Douglas Hyde Gold Medal at the Oireachtas for the best history painting - Cave of the Firbolg. In 1974, the Arts Council and the Northern Ireland Arts Council staged a major retrospective of Reid's artworks.
Nano Reid (1900-1981) Nude Oil on canvas, 50 x 60.5cm (19¾ x 23¾) Signed Provenance: With The Dawson Gallery, Dublin, where purchased, framing label verso, thence by descent to the present owners; The Estates of Dr. John & Mary Esther ODriscoll, Kildare Exhibited: Dublin, Municipal Gallery, November/December 1974; Nano Reid Retrospective, Travelling to Belfast, Ulster Museum January/February 1975, Cat. No. 27 Born in Drogheda Co. Louth, Nano Reid trained at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, where she studied under Sean Keating and Harry Clarke. Afterwards she travelled to Paris, enrolling at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiére along with other Irish artists such as Kathleen Fox. Reid then attended the Central School in London, studying under Bernard Meninsky. In 1929 she returned to Ireland where she stayed until 1962 during which time she exhibited regularly at the Dawson Gallery and the R HA. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Dublin Painters Gallery in 1934. After returning to Ireland, Reid spent the rest of her life in Drogheda, concentrating on painting aspects of local life and landscapes. However, her paintings are in no way bound by a sense of locality, but are accomplished essays in painterly abstraction. By 1942, she had established a reputation for her richness of invention, with economy of means, and her watercolour landscapes were compared to those of Raol Dufy. She exhibited at the RHA during the 1930s; but, from 1943, generally exhibited with the Irish Exhibition of Living Artists, the Dublin Painters and later with the Independent Artists. She represented Ireland with Norah McGuinness at the Venice Biennale in 1950 and exhibited at the Guggenheim International Exhibition in New York in 1960.Adam's
Nano Reid RHA (1900-1981) On the Boyne watercolour on paper signed 'N REID' lower right h:21.60 w:28 cm. Provenance: Private Collection One of Ireland's finest 20th century painters, Nano Reid was from and settled in Drogheda. Her work is mostly rooted in the Boyne Valley, steeped in its layers of history and seen with the affectionate detail of an insider. Reid accommodated modernism in her work, gave it a personal twist and was not averse to responding directly to the beauty of what was before her, as in this charming watercolour.Morgan O'Driscoll
Nano Reid (1900-1981) The Farm Gate Watercolour, 25.5 x 35.5cm (10 x 14) Provenance: Sale deVeres, Dublin, 27 November, 2013, lot 77Adam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981) Horses by the Boyne Oil on board, 76 x 61cm (30 x 24) Signed Provenance: With Taylor Galleries, Dublin, label versoAdam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981) FIGURE BY THE STRAND oil on panel signed lower right; signed, titled and with Dawson Gallery label on reverse h:13.25 w:26 in. Provenance: Dawson Gallery, Dublin; Private collectionWhyte's
Nano Reid, Irish (1900-1981) "Portrait of a West of Ireland Labourer," O.O.C., depicting head and shoulders young man with red hair wearing collarless shirt and overcoat, approx. 40cms x 30cms (16" x 12"), signed lower right 'N. Reid,' later pine frame. (1) Provenance: Important Private Collection, West of Ireland.Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers
Nano Reid (1900 - 1981) "West of Ireland Labourer," O.O.C., depicting a head and shoulders of a young man with red hair, wearing grandfather shirt and overcoat, approx. 40cms x 30cms (16" x 12"), signed lower right, gilt frame. (1) Provenance: Important Private Collection, West of Ireland.Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers
Nano Reid (1900-1981) Horse at the Gate Watercolour, 42 x 29cm (16½ x 11½) Signed Exhibited: With The Dawson Gallery, Dublin, label versoAdam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981) Figure Outside a Bar Watercolour on paper, 27 x 37.5cm (10½ x 14¾'') SignedAdam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981) BIRDS ON AN OLD GARDEN WALL oil on board signed lower left; with Dawson Gallery label on reverse h:22 w:16 in. Provenance: Dawson Gallery, Dublin; Private collectionWhyte's
Nano Reid (1900-1981) STRINAGH [COUNTY MEATH] oil on board signed lower right; with Dawson Gallery and exhibition labels on reverse h:20 w:24 in. Provenance: Dawson Gallery, Dublin; Private collection Exhibited: ‘Nano Reid Retrospective’, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, and the Ulster Museum, Belfast, November 1974 - February 1975, catalogue no. 76Whyte's
Nano Reid (1900-1981) Coastal Scene Watercolour, 23 x 33cm (9 x 13) SignedAdam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981) Cat Abstract Watercolour, 25 x 33.5cm (9¾ x 13¼'') Signed Provenance: With The Dawson Gallery, label verso. Starting Bid: € 560Adam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981)A Fire in the OpenOil on board, 55.5 x 60.5cm (21¾ x 23¾'')SignedProvenance: With Dawson Gallery, Dublin, label verso.Exhibited: 'Contemporary Irish Painting', Wexford Festival, Arts Council of Ireland, 1969.Adam's
signed lower right; with Jorgensen Fine Art label on reverseWhyte's
signed lower right; titled on reverseWhyte's
Nano Reid (1900-1981)West Cork Mountains (1949)Oil on panel, 29 x 39cm (11½ x 15¼)Signed Provenance: William O'Sullivan (TCD) sale, Adam's, where purchased.Exhibited: National Gallery of Ireland, 'Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art', Dublin April-July 2019.Literature: NGI, Donal Maguire Ed., Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art, 2019, Illus p.18; Jerome Scott exhibition catalogue, 'Irish Landscapes', RHA, cover illustration; Patrick J. Murphy, ' A Passion for Collecting: A Memoir', 2012, illustrated p.332.Adam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981)Boyne FishingOil on board, 50 x 60cm (19¾ x 23½)SignedProvenance: With the Dawson Gallery, Dublin 1959Exhibited: Municipal Gallery Dublin, 'Nano Reid Retrospective', 1974, Catalogue No.53; Ulster Museum, 1975, Catalogue No.53; Limerick, Belltable Arts Centre, 'Towards the World's Edge', 1981, Catalogue No.28;Adam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981)Secluded Mansion (1973)Oil on board, 61 x 56cm (24 x 22)SignedExhibited: The Dawson Gallery, solo exhibition, Dublin 1973; University of Limerick, 'Familiar Faces, 2008; Arts Council of Ireland, 'The Delighted Eye', 1980, Catalogue No.70; Belltable Arts Centre, 'Towards the World's Edge', Limerick 1981, Catalogue No.31; 'Camille Souter/Nano Reid Retrospective', Drogheda/Castlebar 1999, Catalogue No.60.Adam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981)Farm Hand (1973)Oil on board, 60 x 73cm (23½ x 28¾)Signed; inscribed with title on artist's label versoExhibited: The Dawson Gallery, solo exhibition, Dublin 1973; Adam's sale 1978, Lot 42; Belltable Arts Centre, 'Towards the World's Edge, Limerick 1981, Catalogue No.30.Adam's
Nano Reid (1900-1981)Artist in the Country (1973)Oil on board, 50 x 60cm (19¾ x 23½)SignedProvenance: With The Dawson Gallery, Dublin.Exhibited: The Dawson Gallery, solo exhibition, Dublin 1973, Catalogue No.10; 'Nano Reid Retrospective', Dublin and Belfast 1974/5, Catalogue No.94, illustrated p.22; Arts Council of Ireland, 'The Delighted Eye', 1980, Catalogue No.72; Belltable Arts Centre, 'Towards the World's Edge', Limerick 1981, Catalogue No.29.In his memoir A Passion for Collecting, Patrick Murphy recalls that in 1973 he wandered into a solo exhibition of Nano Reids at the Dawson Gallery and was greatly smitten by the exceptional quality of these late paintings (1). He quickly sold some shares in order to buy two paintings, one of which was Artist in the Country (2). Murphy recalls that these purchases marked the beginning of his relationship with the Dawson Gallery and its proprietor Leo Smith who told him At last, you have discovered where to find the best pictures in Ireland (3). Anne Margaret (Nano) Reid (1900-1981) was born in Drogheda, the daughter of a publican. She attended the Sienna Convent in the town before winning a scholarship to the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin, where she was taught by Sean Keating and Patrick Tuohy. The artist Hilda van Stockum, who befriended Reid at art school in Dublin, recalled her as a fierce red-head, staring with keen green eyes behind spectacles, she was uncompromising, blunt and desperately looking for truth (4). Reid furthered her art education in Paris at the Academie de la Grand Chaumiere and in London at the Central School of Art and Chelsea Polytechnic before returning to Dublin. From 1934, she exhibited regularly with the Dublin Society of Painters and began to establish a reputation particularly for her portraits many of which featured her friends from Dublins literary circles. Despite finding critical success and, along with Norah McGuinness, representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1950, as Brian Fallon has recently argued, Reid is not as well-known as she deserves to be largely because she was an innovator and ahead of her time: Nano Reid is a major Irish painter, a thorough-going original and innovator, and that it is precisely this originality which has worked against her in certain quarters' (5). As works such as Artist in the Country and Boyne Fishing suggest, Reid often flouted the traditional laws of perspective and depicted some elements of the composition from above while other parts, particularly figures, are illustrated more conventionally. Today we can see her approach to perspective as a direct legacy of Cubism which she would have encountered both in Paris in the 1920s and through the work of Irish artists including Jellett, Hone and Swanzy.Reids handling of paint and her preference in works such as Boyne Fishing and The Farm Hand to render her subjects in loose, energetic brush strokes that deposited thin layers of paint in a distinctive earthy palette of olive green, grey, umber and ochre, also sets her apart from her Irish contemporaries and suggests the influence of expressionism as manifested in Germany and particularly France. Patrick Murphy recalls that Artist in the Country is a portrait of painter Kit Elliot in her kitchen. The figure of the artist bent over her work occupies the left hand corner of the canvas, a black cat on a chair sits in the centre and three red hens can be seen in the garden outside. Cats often appear in Reids work and Brian Fallon argues that the airborn animals that feature in her work probably derive from Chagall (6). While the painting is primarily green, unusually flashes of cobalt blue and areas of light pink and mauve help to define the forms and suggest a domestic interior. Although her influences were international, Reids subject matter was often personal and linked to her home in Drogheda and the Boyne Valley. James White, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, (1964-1980) believed that the surroundings of Drogheda had a big influence on Nano. She told the journalist Martin Dillon in 1974 , What started me off was an interest in the prehistoric Irish remains. An interest grew up around all that and the natural thing was to paint it. I looked around me more and painted what appealed to me in an emotional way. The thing is I have to have a subject that I feel about and the only ones I feel about are those places (Boyne Valley). There is no use in trying to paint a place I have no feeling for. The essence of a place is very important to me (7). Although Reids images of Drogheda and the Boyne Valley were not intended to be documentary, paintings such as Boyne Fishing constitute a valuable record of the town and its inhabitants and record and preserve customs ways of life that are long gone. Murphy bought Boyne Fishing directly from Reid during a visit to Drogheda at the invitation of Nano and her sister. It appealed to him for its anarchic energy and subtle execution. (8) Boyne Fishing shares its subject matter with the earlier work Salmon Fishing in the Boyne which is more representational and clearly depicts the fisher men, their currachs and nets. In the The Farm Hand Reid, depicts another image of everyday work in the rural landscape. Despite being loosely sketched, in both The Farm Hand and Boyne Fishing, Reid has captured the effort, focus and strain in the mens limbs and stance. Although her family ran a pub in town, the sight of men and women working in the fields would have been familiar to Reid and she enjoyed elevating these manual labourers to heroic figures rooted in the landscape. The Boyne Valley was of central importance to Reid but she also painted other areas of Ireland including Connemara, where she stayed on the island of Inishlacken with her friend Gerard Dillon, and West Cork. In The West Cork Mountains (1949) Reid has captured the barely tamed vegetation of the Irelands south west coast where the verdant green flora is punctuated by dark pink Fucshia and the vibrant yellow of buttercups and whins. Patrick Murphy recalls first seeing The West Cork Mountains (1949) at Reids retrospective organised by the Arts Council in 1974 and that the stroke of searing yellow paint atop the mountains smote me to the heart (9). The work belonged to William OSullivan, librarian of Trinity College Dublin, but Murphy vowed then that if it ever came up for sale, he would try to buy it. In 2001 he realised that ambition and acquired this work which he thought had magic its makeup (10). Dr Riann Coulter(1) Patrick Murphy, A Passion for Collecting: A Memoir by Patrick J Murphy, Hinds, Dublin, 2012, p. 113.(2) Murphy, A passion for Collecting, 2012, p. 69-70.(3) Murphy, A passion for Collecting, 2012, p.115.(4) Hilda van Stockum, Dublin art school in the 1920s (part 1), Irish Times, 6 March 1985)(5) Brian Fallon, Sophisticated Primitive Irish Arts Review, Autumn 2019 Vol. 36., No. 3 , p. 75. (6) Fallon, p. 76. (7) Nano Reid interviewed by Martin Dillon, BBC Northern Ireland, 1974, hand written transcript in Reid Archives, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda. (8) Murphy, p. 166-167.(9) Murphy, p. 331-332.(10) Murphy, p. 331-332.Adam's
Nano Reid RHA (1905-1981) Horse at the Gate mixed media signed lower right and titled verso h:42 w:29.50 cm. Provenance: Dawson Gallery, Dublin (label verso); Private Collection Nano Reid's uncompromisingly bold, linear compositions, shallow pictorial space and muted, even muddy palette, with subdued flushes of brighter colour, set her apart in Irish art history. She absorbed modernism through her studies, including in Paris, but she remained firmly rooted in her native Drogheda and her paintings are steeped in the rich archaeological terrain of the Boyne Valley, her local stamping ground. The lives of people outside societal conventions, were a frequent subject. Fellow artists held her in very high esteem.Morgan O'Driscoll
Nano Reid RHA (1900-1981) Waiting by the Steps watercolour signed lower right h:47 w:32 cm. Provenance: The Dawson Gallery, Dublin (framing label verso); Private CollectionMorgan O'Driscoll
Nano Reid (1900-1981)Coastal SceneWatercolour, 24.5 x 36.5cm (9¾ x 14¼'')SignedAdam's