Rita Donagh

born 1939

Rita Donagh, ‘Counterpane’ 1987–8
Counterpane 1987–8
© Rita Donagh
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Biography

Rita Donagh (born 1939) is a British artist, known for her realistic paintings and painstaking draughtsmanship.

She studied at the University of Durham.

Donagh taught at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where she met Richard Hamilton, whom she later married. She also taught at the University of Reading, the Slade School of Art, and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Her first solo show was at the Nigel Greenwood Gallery in 1972. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester held a retrospective (which toured) in 1977. In the 1960s and 1970s, her work was largely conceptual with her Irish ancestry contributing to the subject of many works depicting the political situation in Northern Ireland. Rita Donagh's work on the H Block prisons in Northern Ireland was shown with her husband Richard Hamilton, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 1984. Hamilton's influence of collage and oil paint showed up in her works of the 1970s.

Later, she focused on the human figure including such work as Slade of 1994. She continued her interest in politics with works such as Downing Street Declaration (1993) which included a Hamilton-esque, televised image of Prime Minister John Major.

Donagh, who was widowed in 2011, lives and works in Oxfordshire.

Her work is in the permanent collection of the Tate Gallery.

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