Spotlight on an artist - Geraldine Mary O’Brien (1922 - 2014)

Geraldine Mary O’Brien was born on 27th February 1922 in Limerick

12/05/2023     Artworks


Geraldine Mary O’Brien was born on 27th February 1922 in Limerick to father Donough Richard O’Brien and mother Cicely Maud Carus-Wilson. Artistic abilities ran through her blood as her mother was a successful artist, as well as her cousins Dermod O’Brien, Brigid Ganly, and Kitty Wilmer O’Brien. She honed her craft and was educated in Dublin, eventually defining herself as a botanical artist, working primarily with oils.


At the age of 17, O’Brien was winning prizes from London’s Royal Drawing Society, and by 18 she was exhibiting at the Royal Hibernian Academy, a place she would exhibit consistently throughout her career. Her professional career began to take off around the time of the second world war, and this meant it was near impossible to travel to study in other locations. O’Brien did not let this effect her creativity, as during this period she turned her hand to mechanical period until she ultimately returned to still lives of botanical scenes.


After her studies in Dublin she was led back to Limerick where she worked in her studio, or ‘The Piggery’ as it was known. She would bring plants that she grew in her garden into the studio and would work directly with them. Her work is always rich in colour and brings life to the canvas with realism and depth. Lot 570 in the May Auction is a fine example of the life O’Brien was able to bring to the canvas. Titled  'Still Life with Tulips, Roses, and Irises on a Ledge’, this oil on canvas has a balance of neutral creams and whites together with vibrant blue shades and a pop of red, all together on a simple background.


A proud Limerick woman, she lived with her husband, David Coote Hely Hutchinson, in Parteen from 1948, until she padded away in St. Martha’s Nursing Home in Cork in 2014.

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