Sean Scully

born Dublin, Ireland 1945
Dublin, Ireland
Active in
  • New York, New York, United States
  • London, England
  • American

Scully was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1945 but was raised in London, where his family moved in 1949. He attended classes at London's Central School of Art (1962–1965) and at Croydon College of Art (1965–1968) and received a bachelor's degree from Newcastle University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1972. That year, he traveled to the United States for the first time for a one-year residency at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. He moved to the United States in 1975, settling in New York City. He taught at Princeton University from 1977 to 1982 and was a professor at Parsons School of Design in New York City from 1981 to 1984. In 1983, the year he became a U.S. citizen, Scully received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an artist fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Scully was nominated in 1989 and in 1993 for the Turner Prize that is presented annually by the Tate Gallery in Britain. His paintings, prints, pastels and photographs have been exhibited internationally, and his work is in the permanent collections of some of the leading museum in the U.S. and Europe. Scully maintains studios in New York City, Barcelona, Spain; and Munich, Germany.

Smithsonian American Art Museum "Smithsonian American Art Museum Presents Selections from Its Master Set of Prints by Sean Scully, the Only Set in a U.S. Museum" (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian American Art Museum, press release, May 1, 2007)


Media - 2001.79.28 - SAAM-2001.79.28_1 - 53686
The Prints of Sean Scully
May 17, 2007October 7, 2007
"The Prints of Sean Scully" presents for the first time at the museum a selection of 57 works from a master set of prints that was acquired in 2001. Scully chose the Smithsonian American Art Museum as the only museum in the Unites States to receive a complete master set. The artist's prints range from large-scale, monumental compositions reminiscent of the paintings to smaller, more intimate expressions of the artist's ideas. Although certain themes recur in both his paintings and prints, Scully considers them independent and complementary. Joann Moser, senior curator for graphic arts, selected the prints and illustrated books featured in the exhibition.
Media - 1996.104.55 - SAAM-1996.104.55_1 - 55872
Abstract Drawings
June 14, 2012January 6, 2013
Abstract Drawings presents a selection of forty-six works on paper from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection that are rarely on public display. From simple sketches to highly finished compositions, these works represent the rich possibilities of abstraction as a mode of artistic expression.