Tide Receding, Dublin Bay
Norah McGuinness (1903 – 1980)
© Estate of Norah McGuinness. All rights reserved
TitleTide Receding, Dublin Bay
Dimensions100.5 × 70cm
MediumOil on canvas
Norah McGuinness’ family did not approve of her decision to become an artist and from an early age she had to support herself financially. Eschewing teaching she turned first to illustration and later to theatre design and window dressing.
Throughout her long career McGuinness balanced her painting with her design work and inevitably each field influenced the other. Living in London during the 1930s, she exhibited with the London Group and the Seven and Five Society, as well as creating fashion illustrations for Vogue and the Bystander. In 1937 she went to New York where she exhibited her paintings, created illustrations for Harper’s Bazaar and designed windows for Altman’s department store on Fifth Avenue. Back in Dublin McGuinness was appointed chairperson of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1944, she also represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale of 1950 and she designed windows for Brown Thomas for over thirty years.
Dating from the 1960s Tide Receding, Dublin Bay reveals how McGuinness’ facility at illustration and design influenced her painting. The planes of colour and strong dark outlines in this image, suggest the influence of illustration or theatre sets, and the predominance of brown, black, orange and blue recall contemporary fashion and textile design.
Written by Riann Coulter