Sean Scully b. 1945


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Sean Scully is an Irish-born American artist known for his abstract grid paintings. Scully was raised in South London and studied at Newcastle University before receiving a graduate fellowship from Harvard in 1970. After graduating, he moved to New York and continued his grid paintings. When asked to elaborate on his inspiration, he remarked, "I remember growing up in Ireland and everything being chequered, even the fields and the people."


Scully describes his checkerboard canvases as going against the current fashion of the bizarre and odd. His paintings are done in earthy oil tones composed of harsh and soft lines and sometimes incorporate multiple canvases. Scully has said that his work is a "battle between system and emotion," and he is constantly coming up with new compositions. In 1989 and 1993, he was nominated for the Turner Prize, a high honor given by the Tate to a British artist under 50. The artist currently spends his time working between New York, Barcelona, and Munich. 


Sean Scully's work is featured in the permanent collections of the MFA in Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the MoMA, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art Washington D.C., the Smithsonian American Art Museum Washington D.C., the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the National Gallery of Australia, El Museo Nacional Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Tate Modern in London, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the Nagoya City Art Museum in Japan, Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.


Related Categories: Post-minimalism, Striped, Contemporary Color Fields, Post-War American Art, Line, Form and Color, Patterns, Impasto, United Kingdom and Ireland, Watercolor, United States.