Artist Biographies

Nano Reid 1900 - 1981

Nano Reid was born in Drogheda in 1900 and won a scholarship to the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in 1920, where Harry Clarke became a ‘forceful influence’ in her career. A fellow student, Hilda van Stockum described Nano Reid as a ‘fierce red head, with keen green eyes behind spectacles. From 1925 she exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy and intermittently until 1968, forty two works in all. In 1928, she moved to Paris and attended La Grande Chaumiere along with fellow Irish artist, Catherine Fox. She later spent a period studying in London before returning to Ireland in 1930. Associated with the Dublin Painters, her first solo show was at their Stephen’s Green Gallery in 1934. Many of her paintings feature the landscapes of the West of Ireland and Achill. In her second solo show in Dublin in 1936, she exhibited fifty three watercolours and twenty three oils, an exhibition that was later brought to Drogheda, at the request of the Mayor. She exhibited at the Watercolour Society of Ireland from 1939-1950 and a writer in The Bell in 1941 considered that her watercolours ‘conveyed a deep psychological understanding of her landscape subjects, with such economy of her medium, as to mark her independent merit ...’ Meanwhile, to earn a living, she painted portraits, including that of Estella Solomons and Patrick Hennessy. Earlier in 1938, she was represented at the Irish Drawings and Paintings Exhibition in New York, while during the War years, she continued to exhibit at the Dublin Painters Gallery, illustrated books and in 1943 exhibited at the first the first Irish Exhibition of Living Art, where the Dublin Magazine described her as ‘a bold and original painter, inclined to be rather too energetic in her approach’. She also exhibited at the Oireachtas Exhibition, and in 1946 at the Living Irish Art Exhibition in the Leicester Galleries, London. She also produces murals in Dublin Zoo and in the ballroom of the Four Provinces in Harcourt St, Dublin, none of which survive. From 1947, she exhibited at the Dawson Gallery, Dublin and from 1950 at the Victor Waddington Galleries in Dublin and London, during which time she lived in Fitzwilliam Square. Examples of her work toured North America in 1950 and more importantly in the same year, she represented Ireland along with Norah McGuinness at the Venice Biennale. Exhibitions at Dublin’s Dawson Gallery followed, while she also exhibited in Lugano in 1956 and at the Guggenheim International Award Exhibition in New York in 1960 and at the New York World Fair in 1964. She was represented in the Arts Council’s Modern Irish Painting European tour in 1969-70 and later in the Rosc Exhibition in Dublin in 1971. The following year, she won the Douglas Hyde Gold Medal at the Oireachtas Exhibition. A major retrospective exhibition of 108 of her works dating back to the 1930’s was held in 1974 by the Arts Councils in Dublin and Belfast. A close friend of Gerard Dillion, she painted in the West of Ireland with Dillion and George Campbell, often using the paint itself in ‘a spontaneous and even childlike manner’ Ambiguous about her age throughout her life, she died in Drogheda in 1981, where a retrospective exhibition took place in 1991 and another in 1999, a joint exhibition with Camille Souter in Castlebar, Co Mayo and yet another retrospective exhibition at the Taylor Galleries in Dublin.
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