Bea Orpen HRHA

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Artist Bio

Bea Orpen HRHA

Bea Orpen (1913-1980) was born in Dublin, studying at the Metropolitan School of Art there, and went on to be both a talented landscape and portrait painter, as well as a successful educator. The niece of fellow painter Sir William Orpen, she also attended the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), the Slade School of Fine Art, the School of Typography and the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts. During her studies she was presented with first prize for drawing (1933), painting from life (1934) and decorative composition (1936), whilst also gaining a number of commercial commissions.
Orpen exhibited regularly with both the RHA and the Watercolour Society of Ireland, as well as contributing work to the Oireachtas, the Irish Exhibition of Living Art and the Exhibition of Modern Irish Art, among others. The artist, along with her husband, established the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection which is now part of the permanent collections of the Highlanes Gallery.
She taught at several schools, including Drogheda Technical School, Drogheda Grammar School and St. Peter’s National School, Drogheda.
She was elected an honorary member of the RHA in 1980 and two retrospectives have been held of her work at the Gorry Gallery in Dublin (1981) and the Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda (1995). The Dublin City University named a building after Orpen in her honour.

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