Resists The Tendency Towards Abstraction

Charles Brady was born in New York, America, in 1926. Following time spent in the US Navy aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, he studied at the Art Students’ League and worked as a guard in the New York Metropolitan Museum. Brady moved to Waterford, Ireland in 1955 and then to Dublin, finally settling in Dun Laoghaire with his wife Eelagh in 1962.

View Pear within the Collection

Pear by Charles Brady

Pear by Charles Brady

Brady resisted the tendency towards abstraction that was popular on both sides of the Atlantic throughout much of his career, instead his practice focused on portraying insignificant or banal objects of everyday life such as bus tickets, envelopes and wallets. His appraoch was minimalistic and sparse, transforming these everyday objects into pieces of monumental significance.

I realise that I am part of an old American tradition of painting the subject. It goes back over a hundred years to Peto, Charles Sheeler, Preston Dickinson, William Harnett….I enjoy painting. It’s as simple as that”. – Charles Brady

As Patrick T. Murphy notes in the foreword to the Royal Hibernian Academy’s catalogue produced to coincide with the gallery’s retrospective of Brady’s work in 2002, Brady’s painting “redeems ordinary objects, re-presenting them to the viewer as if to say ‘here, it is these things that your life is made from’. These modest haikus rarely fail to captivate and almost always penetrate deeply into our appreciation of art and life.”

Charles Brady won the Douglas Hyde Gold Medal at the 1973 Oireachtas Exhibition, the PJ Carroll Award at the Living Art Exhibition 1978, the Landscape Award at the 1975 Oireachtas and the Keating/McLoughlin Medal awarded by the ESB at the 1996 RHA Annual Exhibition.

He was one of the founding members of the Independent Artists and their annual group shows that took place from 1960 onwards. In 1994 Brady was elected as an Honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and he was also a member of Aosdána.

His work has been exhibited widely in both his native America and Ireland, with solo exhibitions in the Urban and Babcock Galleries in New York; Davis Gallery, Dublin; and Grant Fine Arts, Belfast.

The RHA held a major posthumous retrospective of his work in 2002 and his work is included in the public collections of Bank of Ireland, the Ulster Museum, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, AIB, the Arts Council of Ireland and the Arts Students League, New York. Charles Brady died in 1997.


Born in New York, 1926

Selected solo Exhibitions

Grant Fine Art, Belfast, 1994

Taylor Galleries, Dublin, 1987- 1995

Taylor Galleries, Dublin, 1984

Taylor Galleries, Dublin , 1979- 1981

Davis Gallery, Dublin, 1971

Babcock Gallery, Dublin, 1967

Urban Gallery, New York, 1955

Selected Group Exhibitions

Gateway to Art, Aer Rianta, Dublin Airport, 1990

Charles Campbell Gallery, San Francisco, 1987- 1990

“Two Artists” (with Rosaleen Davey), Caldwell Gallery, Dublin, 1977

“Two Artists” (with John Middleton), Caldwell Gallery, Dublin, 1975

Penn Academy, Philadelphia, 1967

Babcock Gallery, New York, 1965

Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1950


Landscape Award, 1989

P. J Carroll Award, Irish Exhibtion of Living Art, 1978

Douglas Hyde Gold Medal, Oireachtas, 1973

Player Wills Open competition, 1971

Public Collections

The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaion

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Bank of Ireland

Northern Bank Finance Corporation

Northwest Trust

Ulster Museum

Allied Irish Bank

Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art

Arts Students League

Duchas- The Glebe Gallery, Co. Donegal

Wexford County Council