Grafton Street, Dublin - Acrylic on Card - 2009
Carroll was born in St John's Wood, London, of Quaker stock.
Her formal training was at Goldsmith College of Art where she spent three years
learning and developing her masterly control of light and colour. The influence
of her early impressionism and postimpressionism is readily recognisable in
Marie's work. After graduating from
college she spent a number of years working in Paris
from where she moved to Montraux,
returning to London she took up painting full
time and started to sell through well-established galleries in Sloane Square and London's West End. Marie moved to Ireland in the 1970's where she fell in love
with the vibrant landscapes of counties Dublin
and Wicklow. Her work is also inspired by the bustle of street activities and
market places; She likes to paint en plein air thus capturing the spontaneity
of the moment. Today the dominant themes in
her painting are seascapes and landscapes, which reflect her interest in
the painterly concerns of contemporary
French painting and illustrate the success with which the artist assimilates
aspects of impressionism in her work.
Since coming to Dublin twenty years ago,
the city’s manifold enticements – its parks and Georgian squares, handsome
streetscapes, elegant public buildings – all the charms of a spacious yet
intimate capital – have captivated Marie Carroll and provided the inspiration
and subject matter for her delightful paintings.
She believes in
catching the essence of the fleeting moment and nowhere is this more vividly
portrayed than in her scenes of café and pub life. Favourite Dublin
meeting places – Bewleys and the Shelbourne – and the newer convivial
establishments such as La Stampa and Café en Seine
with their air of European panache, are brought to throbbing life. The
insouciant crowds and busy, scurrying waitresses are captured in a riot of
harmonious colours, applied with a seemingly spontaneous yet masterly hand.
She sees Dublin as a feminine city and Dublin is indeed the heroine of her
She has depicted some
of our best loved Dublin landmarks: the HalfPenny Bridge, glowing and magical
in a late October twilight; the unobtrusive urbanity of the Mansion House,
transformed by her Gallic sensibility to evoke memories of the more exuberant
Hotels de Ville of Southern France; the Campanile, companionable yet aloof in
the front square of Trinity College; the tall, narrow red-brick house as you
turn into Sth. Leinster Street with its faint white letting, Finn’s Hotel,
still discernible on the gable end where Joyce’s beloved Nora worked as a
chamber maid in 1904.
A visual chronicler of Dublin, Marie Carroll is
in thrall to its moody seductiveness, a moodiness for which the absentminded
nature of the Irish Climate may be held responsible.
Like Paul Henry and
Patrick Collins, the wonder of the ever changing Irish sky casts its spell on
her. And, like Flora Mitchell and Harry Kernoff before her, the people of Dublin, at work and play,
their streets, pleasures and preoccupations, are her abiding themes.
She is an instinctive
preservationist. “I don’t like to see my city vanishing before my eyes” she has
said. A hearty amen to that. But above all, she is a painter of happiness and
of joie de vivre.