Portrait of Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), Poet

Edward McGuire, 'Seamus Heaney (1939-), Poet', 1974. NGI.4112.

Edward McGuire (1932-1986)
Portrait of Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), Poet, 1974

Oil on canvas, 31 x 23 cm
Purchased, 1974
NGI.4112

Born in Co. Derry, Seamus Heaney obtained a degree from Queen’s University, Belfast. In 1972 he moved south, settling first in Ashford, Co. Wicklow. His first collections Wintering Out and North, were published in 1972 and 1976 respectively. During the next twenty years he held teaching posts in Dublin, Belfast and at Berkeley, California. In 1984 he was elected to the Boylston Chair of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard, and served as Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1989-94. Heaney won many literary awards, including the the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Like W.B. Yeats, Heaney encouraged an interest in poetry among the general public. The meticulous execution of this portrait of the young poet, typical of McGuire’s work, is an exemplar of technical skill. McGuire was known to arrange his colours with scientific accuracy.

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