Irish Artist Tuëma Pattie Disappeared From Public View for Decades. Now, a London Gallery Is Spotlighting Her Comeback and Artistic Transformation

A week-long retrospective of her work at Cynthia Corbett Gallery will bring together more than 100 works, many offered for sale for the first time.

Tuëma Pattie, Summer in Sussex (2019). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett Gallery.
Tuëma Pattie, Summer in Sussex (2019). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett Gallery.

Tuëma Pattie (b. 1938) is a pioneering Irish artist whose name you might not know. A new week-long retrospective at Cynthia Corbett Gallery in London is hoping to change that. Titled “Tuëma Pattie: From Conventional To Experimental,” the exhibition will feature more than 100 original paintings by the artist, offered for sale for the first time. (As an indication of the fanfare, Adrian O’Neill, the ambassador of Ireland to the UK, gave remarks at the show’s opening). 

Tuëma Pattie, Belfast Street Scene (1958). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett.

Tuëma Pattie, Belfast Street Scene (1958). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett.

The Dublin-born artist’s career had noteworthy beginnings. She studied at the Belfast College of Art, followed by the prestigious Central School of Art and Design (now the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design), and then by Morley College, London. Her colorful, semi-abstracted urban landscapes of Belfast and London were exhibited widely. 

But then her career hit pause as she took time to raise two children and support her husband in his work. Her ambitions did not wane, however, and following a move out of London in 1989, she took the time to cultivate a new experimental approach to the landscape and to capture the energy of terrains as varied as the Galapagos, Antarctica, the Middle East, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Uzbekistan. West Sussex, where she had made her home, became her most frequent subject matter.

Pattie’s richly colorful style is thought to have been influenced by the work of her famed great aunt Sarah Purser, a portraitist and stained glass artist who became the first female member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1924. 

Tuëma Pattie, Galapagos Hawk (2006). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett.

Tuëma Pattie, Galapagos Hawk (2006). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett.

“To me, painting has always been an opportunity to interpret imaginatively what I see in front of me. The facts are there—it is how one brings them to life that matters,” the artist has said.  

Now, Cynthia Corbett Gallery sees potential for the artist to finally gain international recognition. “As a female gallerist, championing women is truly an honor and we are thrilled to be presenting this real gem of a talent to the international art world. I feel it is about time, this incredible woman and wonderful artist take her rightful place on the international stage,” says Cynthia Corbett.

Tuëma Pattie, Perilous Landscape (1994). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett.

Tuëma Pattie, Perilous Landscape (1994). Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett.

Outside of painting, Pattie has been a longstanding supporter of Leonard Cheshire, an organization that helps disabled people to live, learn, and work independently, and she pledges to donate a part of all sales to the charity.

Tuëma Pattie: From Conventional To Experimental” is on view at Cynthia Corbett for one week, through October 31, 2020. 


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