This monograph on the life of Irish artist Daniel O’Neill (1920-1974) marks the centenary of his birth. Born during the war of independence, the story begins with O’Neill’s first attempts to exhibit in his native city of Belfast during World War II with fellow artists and life-long friends, Gerard Dillon and George Campbell. Considered a mysterious and enigmatic figure during his lifetime, new material shines light on O’Neills’s personal struggles and his complex relationship with his dealer, Victor Waddington. As well as his solo exhibitions, this publication explores O’Neill’s participation in mixed e xhibitions of Irish art sponsored by Waddington and the new Irish Arts Council which took place in Ireland, UK, Europe, North America and Canada. In addition to Dillon and Campbell, other artists included in O’Neill’s story are Colin Middleton, Arthur Campbell, Markey Robinson, Nano Reid, Nevill Johnson, Arthur Armstrong and James McIntyre. Paintings in institutions at home and abroad are seen here for the first time and are complimented by archival photographs of O’Neill and his friends to help the reader understand how O’Neill adapted to the various political, social and economic changes in Ireland until his untimely death in 1974.
Karen Reihill has been examining the lives of Northern Irish painters, Gerard Dillon, George Campbell and Daniel O’Neill known as ‘The Belfast Boys’ for several years.