John Behan was born in Dublin and now he lives and works near Galway city. Behan has played a major part in developing sculpture in Ireland over the last forty years. His success in sculpture first began when he was trained in London and Oslo and began exhibiting his work widely.
In 1962, Behan was a founding member of the New Artists’ group and Dublin’s innovative Project Art Centre in Dublin in 1967. Appointed a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1990, an associate of the Academy since 1973 and also a member of Aosdana.
Seamus Heaney said, ‘There is something psychologically salubrious about John Behan. It is as if you are encountering what the Upanishads call the ancient self, something previous to an underlying individual character, some kind of psychic bedrock. These sculptures please us by their materiality, by their substantial physical presence, their bronze in-placeness, their this-worldness….for they are not in the least otherworldly. They are produced by somebody who knows the behaviour of bronze as it was known in the workshops of Rodin and Michelangelo, And yet in spite of the down-to-earthiness and this-worldness of these images John has made, there is also present in them and behind them a sense that they are vessels of spirit, symbols of human knowledge, images, as Yeats said ‘that yet/fresh images beget.”