O'DONOHOE, FRANCIS JOSEPH, A.R.H.A.

(b. 1878, d. 1911)

Landscape and Figure Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born at 40 Cuffe Street, Dublin, on 30th April, 1878, the son of William O'Donohue, a jeweller, afterwards of 19 Essex Quay. As a boy he showed a marked talent for drawing, and at the age of 11 became a pupil in the Metropolitan School of Art under James Brenan. He was twice awarded the national bronze medal, and at the age of 16 obtained second place for drawing. In 1896 he was sent to attend a special course at South Kensington. As a student in the Royal Hibernian Academy he was likewise successful, carrying off the first prize for drawing and painting two years in succession. He afterwards went to Paris and studied in the Académie Julien under Benjamin Constant. Returning to Dublin he was appointed Art Master in the City of Dublin Technical Schools. He began to exhibit in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1899 and was elected an Associate of that body.

He did not, however, paint any important easel pictures, but found employment in Church work. One of his first commissions for ecclesiastical painting was a set of "Stations of the Cross" for the parish church of Screen, Co. Wexford. Subsequently he painted a picture of "The Sacred Heart" for the Cathedral at Loughrea, and executed a set of enamels for a ciborium representing the pre-Christian and Christian periods in Ireland. His next important commission was the painting of figures of "The Twelve Apostles" for the decoration of St. Andrew's church, Westland Row, which were placed in the transept. He also painted religious pictures for Mr. T. Kelly of New York and for Mr. C. T. Gatty. At the time of his death he had in hands a "Lunette" for Lord Killanin. A career of some promise was cut short by a tragic end. On the afternoon of the 23rd December, 1911, he accompanied two friends in a motor car, and in Morehampton Road, the car coming into collision with a van, O'Donohoe was flung violently against the wind-screen and his throat so cut by the glass that he died almost immediately after he was taken to the City of Dublin Hospital. An exhibition of his pictures and drawings was held at 28 Clare Street from the 2nd to 17th February, 1912.

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