The Northern Ireland artist Basil Blackshaw has died aged 83. Blackshaw was regarded as one of the most signifiant painters of his period and one of the most important painters from Ireland. Over the past, his works have been featured in a number of key exhibitions of Irish art. Much of his work depicted rural scenes and portraits of well known figures especially writers such as Brian Friel, John Hewitt and Michael Longley.
Born in 1932 in Glengormley, County Antrim, Basil Blackshaw grew up in Boardmills, County Down. He was a former pupil of Methodist College, Belfast, and of the city’s Art College, where he impressed his teachers from the age of 16. He became an associate of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts in 1977 and won an award for his “sustained contribution to the visual art in Ireland” in 2001. Dublin’s Royal Hibernian Academy has described him as “one of Ireland’s greatest artists” who was “lauded by the art world and his fellow painters”.
Blackshaw was a guarded enigmatic person who protected his privacy. He was once photographed wearing a paper bag over his head while visiting one of the private views of his own exhibition.