Patrick Joseph Tuohy papers

Repository: National Gallery of Ireland

Identity Statement

TitlePatrick Joseph Tuohy papers
Archive ReferenceIE NGI/CSIA/TUO
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates[1916-1990]
Extent Medium1 box. Paper textual documents predominate. Some photographic material.


Creator(s): Tuohy, Patrick, 1894-1930 Killeen, Bridgit, b.1892

  • Administrative History ↴

    Patrick Tuohy was born in Dublin on 27 February 1894. His family lived at 15 North Frederick street where his father worked as a general practitioner. His mother, Maire Murphy, was from county Wicklow and he had two older sisters, Maura (b.1890) and Bride (b.1892). Tuohy’s early education was with the Christian Brothers at Saint Mary’s place, Dublin. From the age of fourteen he attended Saint Enda’s college, which had been established by Padraic Pearse in 1908. At Saint Enda’s, Tuohy was taught by the poet and playwright Padraic Colum; when Tuohy moved to the U.S.A. in 1927 Padraic Colum and his wife Mary gave him support and friendship. While at Saint Enda’s, Tuohy’s artistic talent was encouraged and in 1909 he enrolled in night classes at the Municipal School of Art, becoming a full time student there in 1910. William Orpen was a visiting teacher at the school, making twice-yearly visits from 1906 to 1914 and exerting a great deal of influence on the students and the teaching system. Tuohy was a very successful student and was awarded the Taylor scholarship in 1911 and 1912, the Dublin School of Art scholarship in 1913, and a silver medal at the National Competition, London, in 1914. In 1913 Tuohy received his first commission, for ceiling paintings of the life of Christ, from the Jesuit order at Rathfarnham castle. In 1916 Tuohy went to Spain where he stayed for about a year. In 1918 he began to exhibit at the Royal Hibernian Academy, showing ‘The Wicklow labourer’ and ‘A Mayo peasant boy’, and continued to exhibit there till 1927. Tuohy was appointed to the teaching staff of the Metropolitan School of Art in 1920 where he taught life drawing until 1926. While teaching at the Metropolitan School of Art, Tuohy became friendly with Phyllis Moss, a student, forming a close relationship which lasted until 1926. They were briefly engaged during this time. In 1923 he visited Italy and in 1924 he was in Paris with Phyllis Moss, where he painted his portrait of James Joyce. Although Tuohy’s talent as a portrait painter was recognised in Ireland, he found it difficult to make a living; in 1927 he immigrated to the United States. He first went to South Carolina where he had family connections and then to New York. By 1929 Tuohy had a studio at 440 Riverside drive and was living at 185 West 85th street. His work was shown at the first American exhibition of contemporary Irish art at the Hackett gallery and was very favourably received. The Hackett gallery had a second exhibition of contemporary Irish art in 1930, again featuring Tuohy’s work. Tuohy also received commissions for portraits through his connections though his financial position remained precarious. In August 1930 Tuohy’s body was discovered in his studio on Riverside drive. He had been asphyxiated by gas. There was speculation that his death might have been suicide: Tuohy suffered from depression and nervous troubles and had been under medical care in the United States. Relatives and friends believed that his death was a tragic accident. His body was returned to Ireland for burial in Glasnevin cemetery. In 1931 Tuohy’s sister Bride Killeen and Phyllis Moss organised a retrospective exhibition in Dublin of his work, showing fifty seven paintings and drawings.
  • Archival History ↴

    Papers donated to NGI by a member of the Tuohy family in 1990
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Tuohy, Patrick, 1894-1930 Killeen, Bridgit, b.1892 ↴

    The early papers include correspondence and papers relating to Tuohy’s life in Ireland and the United States. Included are catalogues of two exhibitions held at the Hackett Gallery in New York in 1929 and 1930 and press cuttings of exhibition reviews.
    Most of the papers relate to Tuohy’s death and its aftermath. There are a number of letters to Tuohy’s sister Bride Killeen from relatives and friends who wrote to commiserate with the family on Patrick’s death and to recount his last days and their last encounters with him. A scrapbook contains official documents issued by the New York authorities in relation to Tuohy’s death.
    The papers also include a catalogue of the Memorial exhibition of Tuohy’s work held in 1931 together with some correspondence relating to its organisation. There are several appreciations of Tuohy including one by Thomas McGreevy and one by Joseph Holloway.
    In later years letters to Bride Tuohy and others relating to Tuohy’s work is included. Material also includes photographs of Tuohy and others and negatives of two of his works.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    All records retained
  • Accruals ↴

    None expected
  • Arrangement ↴

    Material of a similar type/theme has been arranged in 15 chronological series for ease of access and use

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Access by appointment and in accordance with NGI Library and Archive access policy
Conditions Governing ReproductionReproduction by permission of the Archivist and in accordance with NGI Library and Archives reproductions policy
Creation Dates[1916-1990]
Extent Medium1 box. Paper textual documents predominate. Some photographic material.
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Characteristics Tech ReqNo special requirements
Finding Aids NGI/CSIA/TUO descriptive list available from Reading Room Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteDorothy Redmond
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd edition. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000
Date of Descriptions2010