About the Artists Database

The NIVAL Artists Database has been compiled in order to improve public access to the Library's extensive information files on 20th century and contemporary Irish artists.  These files contain exhibition catalogues, newspaper cuttings and ephemera on over 3,500 artists born or based in Ireland.

The Artists Database is a reference resource providing basic biographical and work details on each artist abstracted from the information contained in the hard copy files held in the Library.  It is important to realise that the records are a summary of the information held in each artist's file.  A visit to NIVAL is recommended to researchers seeking a comprehensive view of the actual files.

Although we have endeavoured to ensure the information is correct, it is inevitable, given the diverse sources of information, that some inaccuracies may occur.  Changes and updates are made on an ongoing basis and the Library welcomes suggestions, criticism, and donations of relevant material.

Filter Artists:

  • Reference Code:IE/NIVAL AR/1880
  • First Name: Sean
  • Last Name: O'Sullivan
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of Birth: 1906
  • Date of Death: 1964
  • Place of Birth: Dublin
  • Nationality: Irish
  • Area Of Practice:
    • Painting
    • Drawing
  • Artwork Type Technique:
    • Oil Painting
    • Drawings
    • Illustration
  • Abstract/Figurative: Figurative
  • Genre:
    • Portraiture
  • Public Art: No
  • Size: 4
  • Manuscript Material: No
  • Physical Location: Artist Files Collection
  • Public Collection:
    • National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.
    • Ulster Museum, Belfast.
    • Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork.
    • Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin.
    • Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin.
    • Numerous - see file
    • Abbey Theatre.
    • National Museum of Ireland.
    • National Self Portrait Collection, University of Limerick.
    • Limerick City Gallery of Art (includes National Collection of Contemporary Drawing).

other Info Source:

Snoddy's Dictionary of Irish Artists, 20th Century (1996)


Snoddy, T, 2002. Dictionary of Irish Artists, 2nd edition. Dublin: Merlin.


Dublin Metropolitan School of Art;
[1925] La Grand Chaumiere, Paris


O'Sullivan studied at the Dublin Metropolitan School where he was awarded a teacher-in-training scholarship, and later studied painting in Paris in the 1920s. From 1926 onward, he showed work regularly at the Royal Hibernian Academy annual exhibitions and in 1928 was appointed an Associate member. In 1931, he was elected a full member of the RHA. O'Sullivan was an accomplished draughtsman, known for his portrait drawings of Irish personalities, including James Joyce, Maude Gonne & Eamon de Valera. Throughout his career, he contributed illustrations for several Dublin magazines and newspapers including the Capuchin Annual. His portrait paintings and drawings are held in most of Ireland's main collections including the National Gallery, all of the municipal collections, Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum.