Artists in the Collection

May Guinness

Born 1863, Tibradden, Ireland
Died 1955, Tibradden, Ireland

An early Irish modernist, a pupil of Cubist painter André Lhôte (1922- 925) and a friend and teacher to both Evie Hone and Mainie Jellet, May Guinness was born in 1863 as Mary Catherine Guinness and began exhibiting in 1892 with the Water Colour Society of Ireland with whom she was to show more than 120 paintings over the next sixty years.

In 1894, she travelled to the Cornish art colony of Newlyn, along with fellow water colourist Mildred Anne Butler. She was an advocate of plein air painting. In Dublin she encouraged younger artists to experiment with colour and form, whilst applying herself to various mediums including fresco painting and decorative needlework. Her work with colour led her to admire the dacorative sytle and use of colour by Matise and exponents of the Fauve tradition, recieiving lessons from the Kees van Dongen.

During World War I, she was a military nurse in the French armed forces and was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Medáille de la Reconnaissance Française for her bravery.

She had an exhibition of her work at the Saint Stephen’s Green Gallery in 1922 and another ten years later at the Mills’ Hall in Merrion Row while also exhibitibng with the Dublin Painters and the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, as well as at the Victor Waddington Gallery. A retrospective was held the year after her death at the Dawson Gallery, Dublin.