Patricia O’Brien art collection at Dreweatts

A collection of art works by the celebrated Irish artist Patricia O’Brien will go under the hammer at Dreweatts on October 25.

A former electrical engineer and self-taught artist, O’Brien’s paintings are created to celebrate the human form and the characteristics which draw us in, or push us away.

Patricia O'Brien, ‘Birds of Prey’, Oil on canvas
Patricia O’Brien, ‘Birds of Prey’, Oil on canvas, estimate of £400-£600

Dreweatts’ picture specialist, Francesca Whitham, commented: “Throughout Patricia O’Brien’s body of work, the female figure takes centre stage, becoming a focal point of her compositions. O’Brien delves into the complexities of human relationships, exploring their dynamics, inviting viewers to interpret and question the narratives presented. O’Brien repeatedly portrays three figures, possibly a connotation to her own complicated relationships. Her works exude an intense visual poetry, compelling viewers to unravel the stories behind each character and the scene portrayed on the canvas.”

Patricia O'Brien, ‘The Lesson’,
Patricia O’Brien, ‘The Lesson’, Oil on canvas, estimated at £800-£1,200

O’Brien’s artistic journey took off in 1977 when she first exhibited her work at the Upper Street Gallery in London. This initial exhibition marked the beginning of a flourishing career that would see her gain representation by Stephen Bartley and participate in numerous international exhibitions.

In 1981, her talent and unique artistic vision caught the attention of the Royal Academy. She participated in the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, a renowned annual event that showcases the best of contemporary art. John Russell Taylor, an esteemed critic, hailed O’Brien as an “out-and-out discovery” in his review of the 1989 Royal Academy Summer Show.

Patricia O'Brien, ‘L'Offerande’
Patricia O’Brien, ‘L’Offerande’, Oil on canvas, estimated at £1,500-£2,000

The artist’s paintings are a captivating blend of surrealist iconography and Renaissance influences, creating a unique and distinctive style. Francesca Whitham said: “O’Brien was especially drawn to fifteenth century Italian artists such as Sandro Botticelli and Piero della Francesca whose focus on exquisite attention to detail, with a particular emphasis on depicting the human form with individuality, empathy, and sensitivity, inspired her. Humanism permeates O’Brien’s work, as she delves deep into the layers of emotions experienced by her figures and situates them within the natural world, infusing her paintings with spiritual meaning.”