The Boxer, Pencil & Watercolour on Paper, 83.8 x108.6cm, circa 1920 AIB Art Collection

Sir William Orpen

RHA, 1878-1931

William Orpen was born in Dublin in 1878. In his artistic career he maintained close ties with London, studying at the famous Slade School of Art. Orpen was known for his skill in drawing and painting, quickly becoming a highly sought after society painter. In 1917 he was engaged as the official war painter of the First World War, travelling to the Western Front where he painted iconic images of soldiers and key political moments in the wars history. He lived between Dublin and London and while here he taught at the Dublin Metropolitan School (Now NCAD), there he had a profound effect on the younger generation of painters, especially a young painter called Sean Keating. Orpen’s work is housed in our National Collections, The National Gallery of Ireland and Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, as well as international collections including the Imperial War Museum, London.

The Boxer, shows his skill as a draftsman and as a keen observer, capturing a victorious or perhaps defeated boxer as he leaves the ring.