Our Artists

Sean Scully

Influenced by Matisse, Mondrian and, above all, Mark Rothko, Sean Scully developed his own abstract language based on stripes and bands, which he lays out across very large canvasses.  His works are represented in the collections of the greatest museums worldwide. 



Sean Scully was born in Dublin and spent his childhood in London, where his family moved in 1949. 

After training in typography, he studied at the Croydon College of Art in London from 1965 to 1968, then at Newcastle University from 1968 to 1972.

In 1972, he obtained a grant that enabled him to study at Harvard.

On his return to
London, he taught for 2 years at the Chelsea School of Art and at the Goldsmiths School of Art.

He moved to the United States in 1975 and obtained American citizenship in 1983.

His first personal exhibition took place at the Rowan Gallery in
London in 1977.

In 1985 he had his first personal exhibition in the
United States, at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

His first retrospective in France took place in 1994 at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris in Paris.

From 2002 to 2007, he taught in Germany at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich.

In 2008, the Saint-Etienne Museum of Modern Art dedicated a
major retrospective to him.

 “Abstract art anchored in the real world"

In his first paintings, Sean Scully used vertical and horizontal lines of colour that intersected in a regular fashion to form grids that overlapped each other. 

In the 1980s, he abandoned lines and used just stripes vertical or horizontal – of varying thickness. Later, he used squares in his works or, as in Union Yellow (1994), the colours were divided into a chessboard pattern.

Scully tried to reduce the rigour and “coldness” of abstraction and introduce more emotion and "humanity".

Scully’s works release a great sense of energy. He allows the brush strokes and different layers of paint of varying thickness to show through, alternating between transparency and opacity and making use of colour shading

Scully’s engravings and photography

As well as painting, Sean Scully produces engravingsIn 2006, he donated all his engravings to the Département des Estampes et de la photographie de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (French National Library Prints and Photography Department).

He also practised photography. His photographs were mostly of doors and stone walls where the arrangement, form, colour and texture provided inspiration for his work.

“I have tried to create a new form of emotion in abstract painting, to make discoveries or to try out new processes.  I have tried to combine the objective with the subjective, the rational with the emotional”. Sean Scully


See Sean Scully’s works:

on the Galerie Lelong website (Paris)
on the Kerlin Gallery website (
on the Timothy Taylor Gallery website (London)

Useful links

- "Sean Scully. an abstraction anchored in the real world". 2008 Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Saint-Etienne:
>> read the teaching pack
>> Read the  

- Sean Scully Exhibition 2006 at the ‘Bibliothèque Nationale de France’:
>> Read the notes
>> Read the press release

Sean Scully 's products at Nouvelles Images

> Prints and posters

Prints and posters Mexico 4.2.88 Prints and posters Saba

Nationality(ies) : American, Irish
Born on : 30/06/1945
Profile : Engraver, Painter, Photographer
Theme(s) covered : Colors and materials