Born in Dublin in 1880, she appears to have only begun to paint around 1950. Two of Bowen's sons were highly talented artists, Arthur and George, the latter becoming particularly successful. Gretta Bowen seems to have simply turned to painting because she had the materials to hand but she must have been inspired to some extent by them, although it appears that she used her maiden name to avoid any obvious connection with them.
She clearly attracted notice early on despite her late start. In 1959, Bowen was given a solo exhibition by the Council for Encouragement of Music and the Arts, which continued to support her work when it subsequently became the Arts Council. An extensive and admiring review appeared in The Times.
Gretta Bowen'... read more