Hugh Lane acquires rare self portrait by Frank O’Meara

A rare self portrait by the Irish artist Frank O’Meara (1853 – 1888) has recently been acquired by Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.

“Self Portrait” by Frank O’Meara is currently on view at the Gallery and forms part of the Frank O’Meara and Irish Artist Abroad exhibition.  The exhibition explores the work of artists who, influenced by innovative new developments on the Continent, travelled abroad to develop their art practice. Curated by Jessica O’Donnell, the exhibition is on view at the Gallery until 11th June 2017.

“This is the only known self portrait by this very important Irish artist and we are delighted to have acquired it for Dublin.  This beautiful rare self portrait greatly enhances the Gallery’s collection of Frank O’Meara’s work, the largest of any public collection.  We are extremely grateful to Mary Stratton Ryan, art historian and expert on the work of Frank O’Meara, whose financial support assisted us in acquiring the painting” said Barbara Dawson, Director, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.

Since its arrival at the Gallery in November 2016 considerable examination and treatment has been undertaken by Head of Conservation, Lucia Fabbro. Using non-invasive analyses, the painting has been sensitively cleaned to remove dirt and grime to reveal the richness of the original colours making the artist’s signature and date (1884) more visible.

The exhibition features as part of the Gallery’s theme for 2017 – ‘Artist as Witness: Migrations’. Works by Walter Osborne, John Lavery, Nathaniel Hone, May Guinness and Mary Swanzy also features in the Frank O’Meara and Irish Artist Abroad Exhibition. Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane has the greatest number of works (six) by O’Meara in a public collection.

The portrait can be viewed in Gallery 13 at Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1 and online at:


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Notes to the Editor

Born in Carlow, Frank O’Meara (1853-1888) studied at the atelier of Carolus-Duran in Paris.  There, he became friends with John Singer Sargent who painted a sensitive portrait of a young twenty-two year old O’Meara in 1875, now in The Century Association, New York.

The only known self portrait by Frank O’Meara, now in the ownership of Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane was painted in 1884 in the French artists’ colony Grez-sur-Loing.  O’Meara’s oeuvre is characterised by a poetic wistfulness.  His pensive figures are often portrayed in outdoor autumnal settings bathed in even, muted light or at twilight.
O’Meara died of malaria at the young age of thirty-five.  During his artistic career, he worked slowly and carefully.  There are not a large number of extant works by the artist.