Irish Artist Directory

Kathleen Fox (Irish Artist Directory)

Full Name: Kathleen Fox

Lived: 1880 - 1963

Categories: Realism, Metropolitan School, Flower Studies

Artist Biography

The daughter of Captain Henry Charles Fox of the King’s Dragoon Guards, Kathleen Fox came of an Irish Catholic upper middle class family with a British Army tradition. She was brought up at Glenageary Hall, Co. Dublin and went to school at St. Mary’s, Ascot and Loreto Abbey Convent, Dalkey. She entered the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in 1903, a decision which, given her background, was probably opposed by her family, but she was independent-minded, a characteristic which became particularly pronounced when later she earned the nick-name “the little rebel”, because of her sympathies with those involved in the 1916 Easter Rising.

While at the Metropolitan School, she was at first attracted by the crafts of fine metalwork and enamelling. Under the guidance of Oswald Reeves she won top prizes for her metalwork in London at the National Competitions of 1908 and 1909. She also worked on painted china, carved wood, silver, costume design and stained glass, which were aspects of the strong arts and crafts revival in Ireland. However, her interest in painting was to be fired by the teaching in Dublin of Sir William Orpen, only two years her senior, who encouraged her and for whom she had a high regard. It was Orpen’s style of tonal realism acquired at the Slade School of Art, which he passed on to her. In 1910 she was admitted to the RHA Life School. She exhibited for the first time at the RHA in 1911 with Science and Power (Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery), sometime after which she left to paint in Paris and Bruges. She was back in Dublin in 1916 and became known as the “Artist of the Rising”. She went openly into the most dangerous centres in Dublin to capture in her paintings the spirit and personalities of the Rising. She also carried messages between the leaders.

During the First World War Kathleen Fox kept a studio in London where she met her husband Lieutenant Cyril Pym who was killed in action. There a daughter was born in 1918. Later she moved to Nice where she continued to paint and exhibited in France, London and Dublin. In 1921 her work was shown at the New English Art Club, the National Portrait Society, the Royal Academy and the Royal Hibernian Academy. She returned to Dublin in the early twenties and later inherited the family home in Milltown, Dublin where she painted many interior views. For the next twenty years she worked as a highly successful portrait painter in Ireland and England but made not further submissions to the RHA until 1944.

In her later paintings there is a significant and enduring transformation in terms of subject matter. Gone is the spirited work of some twenty years earlier, to be replaced by highly competent flower-studies which she exhibited throughout the 1940s and 50s and for which today, perhaps unfairly, she is best known. She died in 1963.

Kathleen Fox's work featured in 'Irish Women Artists: 1870-1970' exhibition (2014). Please click here to view the catalogue.

Her work also featured in 'Ireland: Her People and Landscape' exhibition (2012). Please click here to view the catalogue.

Christina Kennedy 

Kathleen Fox Art Previously On Sale at Adam’s Auctioneers

Kathleen Fox (1880-1963) Ruins of the Four Courts Oil on canvas, 51 x 68.5cm (20 x 27'') Signed a...

Hammer Price €8,000.00

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Kathleen Fox (1880-1963) The Lilies of the Field Oil on canvas, 70 x 89cm (27 x 35'') Signed, ins...

Hammer Price €4,000.00

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Kathleen Fox (1880-1963) When Winter Comes Oil on canvas, 44.5 x 29cm (17.5 x 11.5'') Signed bott...

Hammer Price €3,800.00

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Kathleen Fox, RHA, (1880 - 1963) To a Wild Rose (1919) Oil on canvas, 29 x 50cm (7.5 x 19.75'') S...

Hammer Price €2,000.00

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Kathleen Fox (1880-1963) When Winter Comes Oil on board, 44.5 x 29cm (17½ x 11½'') Signed Artis...

Hammer Price €1,700.00

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