Brett McEntagart RHA is one of the most senior members of the Academy, having been elected an Associate Member in 1970, five decades ago and Full Member in 1980. Five years previous to that Brett began a career in the printmaking department of the National College of Art and Design, then still in its Kildare Street premises.
Uniquely amongst Irish artists of his generation Brett received his third level education in the USA: a humanities degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, followed by a
MFA from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He adored the paintings of Andrew Wyeth and probity of artists like Paul Sample and Neil Welliver. His European influences were also distilled through an American eye with John Singer Sargent cited as a central figure for the young artist.
Brett works predominantly in oils, watercolour and etching. Influences on his practice include the Barbizon School, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. The primary subject matter of his artworks are landscapes in Ireland, France and Greece.
This exhibition spans work from the late 1960s to the present day and reveals Brett’s facility and skills through a variety of mediums. His vision is uncluttered, attempting as it does to capture light on form in a direct and sincere way. Whether the glaring reductivism of a Greek noon or a swooning sunset on Dublin Bay, Brett’s art stays true to the observed subject.
Brett McEntagart was born in Dublin in 1939. He studied art at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire and Colorado University, USA, where he was awarded a Masters of Fine Art in Painting and Printmaking. He later continued his study of printmaking and etching at the Salzburg Academy of Fine Art in Austria. Studying life drawing at the Slade School of Art in London, he learned and adapted many of the techniques associated with French Realism into his artistic practice.
He was elected a full Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts in 1980 and served as Secretary of the Academy from 1982 to 1987. He then resigned as Secretary to spend a year painting in France and was re-elected to the post in 1997 for one year. Subsequently, he was elected as Treasurer at the RHA in 2001 and held this post until 2005. Between 1993 and 1996, he served on the National Gallery of Ireland’s Board of Governors.
McEntagart taught for many years at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and was Head of the Printmaking Department there between 1990 and 2000. The focus of his teaching practice at NCAD was on life drawing, printmaking and etching. He exhibits regularly in Dublin and throughout Ireland. His first solo show was in the Molesworth Gallery in Dublin in 1966. Additionally, his work has been shown in France, the United Stated of America and the United Kingdom.
He travels regularly to Europe on painting expeditions. An accomplished artist across a diverse range of media, McEntagart is a member of both the Watercolour Society of Ireland and Graphic Studio, Dublin.
McEntagart’s work is held in many collections, both private and public, notably the Office of Public Works, the National Self Portrait Collection, Limerick and AIB Bank.
Image: Brett McEntagart, Back Garden, Issigeac, Dordogne, 1988, watercolour, 31 x 40cm. Courtesy of the artist. Photography: Gillian Buckley.