Barrie Cooke
Irish Expressionist Artist. Biography, Paintings.

For details of painters/sculptors,
see: Abstract Artists Ireland.

Barrie Cooke (b.1931)

The abstract expressionist painter, Barrie Cooke, was born in Cheshire, England. After a childhood spent in England, the United States, Jamaica and Bermuda, he studied Art History at Harvard University. He held his first solo exhibition in New York in 1950. After Harvard, he studied drawing and painting at Skowhegan in Mainie and showed his paintings in Boston before moving to a small cottage in County Clare, in 1954. The following year he held his first solo art show in Dublin and received a scholarship to study with Oskar Kokoschka in Salzburg. He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1963.


Although based in Ireland since the 1950s, Cooke's frequent trips to countries such as Lapland, New Zealand, Borneo and Malaya has imbued his expressionist, semi-abstract paintings with a wide range of naturalistic possibilities.

This fuses with his immersion in the water-rich landscape of Ireland, his interest in marine life and fishing.

In contrast, he has also painted a number of nudes and produced several sculptures.

Barrie Cooke is a member of Aosdána and has exhibited widely throughout Europe, the USA and Canada. Major retrospectives include shows in the Douglas Hyde Gallery (1986), the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (1992), LAC, Perpignan, France (1995), and the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallagher Gallery (2003).

His paintings are represented in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Ulster Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Haags Gemeentemuseum, and in many other collections worldwide. He won the Marten Toonder Award in 1988, and the Irish-American Cultural Institute's O'Malley Award in 2002.

Most Expensive Painting by Barrie Cooke

The auction record for a work by Barrie Cooke was set in 2008, when his portrait entitled Seamus Heaney was sold at James Adam's, in Dublin, for €28,000.

More Information About Irish Painting

• For details of other painters from Ireland, see: Irish Artists: Paintings and Biographies.
• For more about semi-abstract artists like Barrie Cooke, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about abstract expressionism, see: Homepage.

History of Irish Art
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