Frank McKelvey RHA RUA

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Frank McKelvey RHA RUA

Frank McKelvey was a landscape and portrait painter born in Belfast. Before attending the Belfast School of Art, McKelvey was a poster designer for David Allen & Sons. In the early stages of his career, McKelvey was commissioned by Thomas McGowan to produce pictures of Old Belfast. The paintings were later exhibited at the Ulster Museum in 1930. After first exhibiting at the Royal Hibernian Academy, McKelvey won immediate recognition in Dublin.  In 1921, he was elected a member of the Belfast Art Society and the Ulster Society of Painters. In 1923, he was appointed an RHA associate, becoming a full member in 1930.  McKelvey, along with James Humbert Craig, and Paul Henry were among those in a distinct group of Northern Irish landscape painters, their subjects described by The Studio as ‘obviously sincere, closely observed, firmly and cleanly handled.’ McKelvey was one of the first Academicians of the Royal Ulster Academy.

In S. B. Kennedy’s book, Frank McKelvey, RHA RUA, 1993 he wrote: ‘In essence he was a Romantic; yet in the inter-war years in particular, with his contemporaries amongst the landscapists, he helped to forge a new and distinct way of representing the Irish scene which is the nearest approximation we have to a distinct Irish school of painting.’

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