JUNE IRISH ART AUCTION

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William Conor
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(1881-1968) RHA PRUA ROI
A Belfast born artist, celebrated for his warm and sympathetic portrayals of working-class life in Ulster. Conor studied at the Government School of Design in Belfast in the 1890s. He then worked as an apprentice poster designer. By 1912 William was in Paris and later exhibited in the Paris Salon.

In World War One the government commissioned him to produce official records of soldiers and munitions workers.

In 1920 he moved to London and there met and socialised with such artists as Sir John Lavery and Augustus John. He was a member of the Chelsea Arts Club and exhibited at the Royal Academy, it was at this time that he painted the official opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament by the King and Queen. William Conor became the first member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, he also exhibited in Dublin at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1918-1967, showing nearly 200 works. He was one of the first Academicians when the Belfast Art Society became the Ulster Academy of Arts in 1930. In 1938 he became an Associate of the RHA and ten years later, a full member. In 1952 he was awarded an OBE and in 1957 he was elected President of the RUA - an office he held until 1964.

Conor received an honorary Masters of Fine Art degree from Queens University Belfast and was awarded a civil pension in 1959. The following year he decided to close his studio where he had worked for nearly two decades. His work principally in watercolour and crayon is in practically all the Irish collections of note. More than 50 works of his are now in the permanent collections of the Ulster Museum.