Lisson Gallery

Sean Scully

Sean Scully is one of the most important painters of his generation, whose work is held in major museum collections around the world. While known primarily for his large-scale abstract paintings, comprised of vertical and horizontal bands, tessellating blocks and geometrical forms comprised of gradated and shifting colours, Scully also works in a variety of diverse media, including printmaking, sculpture, watercolour and pastel. Having developed a style over the past five decades that is uniquely his own, Scully has cemented his place in the history of painting.  His work synthesises a thoroughly international collection of influences and personal perspectives – ranging from the legacy of American abstraction, with inspiration from the likes of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, and that of European tradition, with nods to Henri Matisse and Piet Mondrian, as well as references to classical Greek architecture. While monumental in scale and gesture, Scully’s work retains an undeniable delicacy and sincerity of emotion. 

Sean Scully was born in Dublin in 1945 and raised in South London. Wanting to be an artist from an early age, Scully attended evening classes at the Central School of Art in London from 1962 to 1965, and enrolled full time at Croydon College of Art, London from 1965 until 1968. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Newcastle University in 1972. He was awarded the Frank Knox Fellowship to Harvard University in 1972, where he visited the United States for the first time. In 1975, he moved to New York full-time. Today, he lives and works between New York and Bavaria. With a career that spans more than five decades, he has received numerous accolades and has been the subject of multiple touring exhibitions. In 2014, he became the first Western artist to have a career-length retrospective in China. Follow the Heart: The Art of Sean Scully 1964 – 2014 included over 100 paintings and travelled from Shanghai to Beijing. Scully was named a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2013 and has received honorary degrees from institutions such as the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston; the National University of Ireland, Dublin; Universitas Miguel Hernandez, Valencia; Burren College of Art, National University of Ireland; Newcastle University, UK, among others. A series of essays and conversations between Scully and the esteemed art critic Arthur Danto was published by Hatje Cantz in 2014, and a collection of Scully’s own writing, selected speeches and interviews, Inner, was released in 2016.

Significant solo exhibitions of his work were recently on view at Thorvaldens Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark (2 September - 5 March, 2023), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA (11 April - 31 July, 2022), Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, (October 13 – January 15, 2021), Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden, Wuppertal, Germany (June 11, 2020 - January 3, 2021), Albertina, Vienna, Austria (7 June – 8 September 2019); Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico (23 May – 29 September 2019); San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy (11 May – 13 October 2019); LWL-Museum for Art and Culture, Münster, Germany (5 May – 8 September 2019); Villa Panza, Fondo Ambiente Italiano, Varese, Italy (18 April 2019 – 6 January 2020); National Gallery of Art, London, UK (13 April – 11 August 2019); The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, USA (23 February – 19 May 2019) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., USA (13 September 2018 – 3 February 2019); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK (29 September 2018 – 6 January 2019); De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (21 April – 26 August 2018); Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany (24 March – 5 August 2018); Cuadra San Cristóal, Mexico City, Mexico (7 February – 24 March 2018); State Russian Museum – Marble Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia (3 March – 9 May 2018); Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia (3 November – 10 December 2017); Museum of the Nanjing University of the Arts, China (8 April – 8 May 2016); Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (6 September – 9 October 2016); Hubei Art Museum, Wuhan, China (10 January – 12 March 2017); Shanghai Himalayas Art Museum, China (23 November 2014 – 25 January 2015); and Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA), Beijing, China (12 March – 23 April 2015). In 2015, Scully oversaw a complete renovation at the Romanesque chapel Santa Cecilia de Montserrat, near Barcelona, featuring his work in dialogue with the historic architecture and restoring the church to working condition.

Sean Scully’s work is in the permanent collections of numerous important institutions including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Tate Modern, London; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Albertina, Vienna; and Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, among many others.

 

Recent, current and forthcoming projects

'Sean Scully', Passerelle Centre d'art contemporain, Brest, France (20 October 2023 - 13 January 2024)

'Wall of Light Land', Lisson Gallery, Beijing, China (November 2023 – March 2024)

 

Tappan Deep, 2023

Sean Scully
Tappan Deep, 2023

Oil on linen, 160 x 160 x 7.6 cm (63 x 63 x 3 in)

Crate of Air, 2018

Sean Scully
Crate of Air, 2018

Installation view of 'Smaller Than The Sky' at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, UK, 2023

 

Wall Dark Blue
2022

Sean Scully
Wall Dark Blue 2022

Oil on linen, 160 x 160 x 7.6 cm (63 x 63 x 3 in)

Air Cage, 2020

Sean Scully
Air Cage, 2020

Installation view of 'Sean Scully: Song of Colours' at the Langen Foundation, Düsseldorf, 2022

Teal Rose, 2023

Sean Scully
Teal Rose, 2023

Oil on copper, 69.9 x 69.9 cm (27 1/2 x 27 1/2 in)

Opulent Ascension, 2019

Sean Scully
Opulent Ascension, 2019

Installation view at 'Sean Scully: Human', Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy, 2019

Shutter, 2019

Sean Scully
Shutter, 2019

Oil on aluminium, 279.4 x 539.8 cm (110 x 212 1/2 in)

Shadow Stack, 2018

Sean Scully
Shadow Stack, 2018

Corten steel, 448 x 249.9 x 259.1 cm (176 3/8 x 98 3/8 x 102 in)

Looking Outward, 2019

Sean Scully
Looking Outward, 2019

Installation view at Villa Panza, Varese, Italy; Photo by Michele Alberto Sereni, Courtesy Magnoza

Installation view of 'Sean Scully: Sea Star' at the National Gallery, London

Sean Scully
Installation view of 'Sean Scully: Sea Star' at the National Gallery, London

2019
 

Madonna, 2019

Sean Scully
Madonna, 2019

Oil on aluminium, 215.9 x 190.5 cm (85 x 75 in)

Golden Frieze, 2017-2018

Sean Scully
Golden Frieze, 2017-2018

Glass mosaic, 130 feet long. Public Collection, United States Embassy, London, UK

Exhibitions

  1. Sean Scully: Wall of Light Land

    Sean Scully: Wall of Light Land

    18 November 2023 – 13 April 2024

  2. Sean Scully: LA Deep

    Sean Scully: LA Deep

    23 September – 4 November 2023

  3. Sean Scully: Big Small

    Sean Scully: Big Small

    16 June – 3 July 2022

  4. Portals

    Portals

    10 February – 9 April 2022

  5. Sean Scully: Wall Big And Small

    Sean Scully: Wall Big And Small

    1 July – 18 July 2021

  6. Sean Scully: The 12 / Dark Windows

    Sean Scully: The 12 / Dark Windows

    6 May – 18 June 2021

  7. Sean Scully

    Sean Scully

    3 September – 7 September 2020

  8. Sean Scully: PAN

    Sean Scully: PAN

    30 April – 8 June 2019

Shop

  1. Sean Scully: The 12 / Dark Windows

    Sean Scully: The 12 / Dark Windows

  2. LA Deep

    LA Deep

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