The 10 best and most famous Irish artists

Ireland is known the world over for its steady stream of creativity, ranging from music to film, theatre, and most notably: art. Here we take a look at some of the best and most famous Irish artists.

Whether it’s down to political struggles, social injustice, or even sporting, Ireland has firmly established itself as the underdog. 

Given this, it should come as no surprise that Ireland – albeit small – is home to a healthy dose of some of the world’s most renowned artists. 

From the fields of literature and film to music and indeed art, the household names are many. Let’s take a look at the ten best and most famous Irish artists.

10. Anna Doran – the muralist

The muralist, Anna Doran, is a great and amazing Irish artist.
Credit: annadoranart.com

Anna Doran is a native Dubliner who has sprinkled some magic dust over the capital city and some of its most iconic building since she first made tracks on the Irish art scene.

Doran is most-known for ‘Love Lane’ and was the commissioned artist who transformed Facebook’s Dublin HQ into the majestic mural maze it is today.

9. Conor O’Leary – the contemporary portrait photographer

Conor OLeary is a contemporary portrait photographer you need to know.
Credit: conoroleary.com

Conor O’Leary is an Irish photographer and artist who splits his time between London and his home city of Dublin.

Having been featured across the globe in Wallpaper*, The National Gallery of Ireland, Financial Times, The Telegraph Magazine, and The New York Times, it is safe to say O’Leary is a hot topic on the Irish art and photography scene.

8. Paul Henry – for lush landscapes

The artists Paul Henry is known for his beautiful landscape painting.
Credit: whytes.ie

Paul Henry is one of the most famous Irish artists in history to date. 

Most famous for his scenes of lush emerald landscapes, the 20th-century Belfast painter is now a measure by which all contemporary Irish landscape artists are compared. 

7. Norah McGuinness – the illustrator

Norah McGuinness is an illustrator and one of the best Irish artists.
Credit: imma.ie

Norah McGuinness is one of the most famous Irish artists and illustrators. Born in Derry, she led an exciting life, living in London, Paris, and New York, before retiring to Dublin, where she died. 

Her work will be forever remembered for its graphic illustrations reflective of her unique personal style. 

6. Maser – the top Irish street artist

Another of the most famous Irish artists is Maser, a street artist.
Credit: @maserart / Instagram

Maser is the leading Irish street artist, most known for his colourful and adventurous murals which span cities across the Emerald Isle and around the globe. 

Based now in the USA, Maser – whose real name is, in fact, Al Hester – first began the art of graffiti in 1995 and has grown to become the most famous name on the Irish street art scene.

5. Louis le Brocquy – for Cubist figures

Known for Cubist figures, Louis le Brocquy is another of the most famous Irish artists.
Credit: anne-madden.com

As one of the most famous Irish artists, Louis le Brocquy’s career spanned some 70 years, earning him many awards and much global recognition. 

Now passed, the Dublin-born artist is most remembered for his “Portrait Heads” series of iconic literary figures.

4. Duncan Campbell, video artist – 2014 Turner Prize-winner

Duncan Campbell is a video artist, and one of the top most famous Irish artists.
Credit: tate.org.uk

This Dublin-born, Glasgow-based visual artist is one of the best in his field and is known on the artists’ world stage for his contributions to his chosen medium: video. 

Having won the 2014 Turner Prize with his video piece It for Others, Campbell is now firmly established as Ireland’s preeminent video artist. 

3. Charles Jervas – the top Irish portraitist 

Charles Jervas is another of the most famous Irish artists.

18th-century icon, Charles Jervas, is another one of the most famous Irish artists. 

Often remembered for his distinctive portraits, it is essential to note that the painter was also a translator and an art collector of the early 18th-century.

2. Jack Butler Yeats – one of the most famous Irish artists

Another of the most famous Irish artists is Jack Butler Yeats, an amazing painter.
Credit: tate.org.uk

Although Jack Butler Yeats is commonly given kudos for his famous family relation – brother, William Butler Yeats – Jack himself was a tremendous artist. 

As one of the most famous Irish artists of the 20th-century, Jack Butler Yeats worked mainly as an illustrator, before transitioning to oil in 1906. 

1. Sir John Lavery – for wartime depictions

John Lavery is truly one of the most famous Irish artists.
Credit: tate.org.uk

Sir John Lavery is one of the most famous Irish artists the island has ever borne. 

The Kilkenny-native is best remembered for his portraits and wartime scenes. He was the designated artist during World War I, and his works are still as dramatically-effective as they were during his tenure. 

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