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Norah McGuinness (1901-1980)

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Norah McGuinness, painter and illustrator, was born on 7 November 1901 in Lawrence Hill, County Londonderry. She studied at Dublin Metropolitan School of Art and Chelsea Polytechnic, and spent the 1920s working in Dublin as a stage designer and book illustrator. Books she illustrated include Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1925) and titles by W. B. Yeats.

In 1929, after her divorce from editor Geoffrey Phibbs, she moved to Paris to work at André Lhote's studio. She later moved to London, where she was a member of Lucy Wertheim's "Twenties Group" and the avant-garde "London Group". She lived in New York from 1937 to 1939, then settled in Dublin and concentrated on painting. She was known for her vivid, highly coloured landscapes, influenced by Cubism, as was associated with the Modernist movement in Ireland. She helped to found the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1943, becoming its president the following year, and represented Ireland at the 1950 Venice Biennale. She was elected an honorary member of Royal Hibernian Academy in 1957, but later resigned.

There was a retrospective of her work in the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, in 1968 and in 1973 the College awarded her an honorary doctorate. She died in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, on 22 November 1980.

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