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From the McMullen Museum
Flann O’Brien (1911–66) is one of 59 Irish writers whose visages are featured in the McMullen’s fall exhibition, Literary Lives: Portraits from the Crawford Art Gallery and the Abbey Theatre, Ireland, a gathering of paintings, photographs, and busts by Irish artists. This 1957 acrylic work is by Micheál Ó Nualláin, O’Brien’s brother, and is, in the words of the show’s curators, a “testament to the fondness the artist bore for an older brother he admired and in whose shadow he remained.” O’Brien was a novelist (At Swim-Two-Birds) and journalist (for the Irish Times—note the newspaper in his pocket). He was also, as his dress suggests, a member of the civil service. The 49 3/4 x 37 1/2–inch painting is from the University’s Burns Library collections.