Hugh Monahan


(British, 1914-1970)

Hugh studied History at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and art at the Royal Hibernian Academy, but when he graduated with a Masters degree, he chose to join the Indian Army as an officer, “because I didn’t think I was good enough to make a living painting”. Once in India, he joined the famous Ghurka Brigades and served two and a half years on the Northwest Frontier, now the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Hugh’s goal was to be able to support himself with his art, and in 1949, he discovered that he was earning more from his art than he was from his job. He promptly quit and devoted himself full time to painting. He exhibited in Dublin at the Victor Waddington Galleries in 1950 and at the 'British Bird Art' exhibition at the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery in 1954. He was president of the Wildfowler's Association of Great Britain and Ireland 1953-1956, and co-author of The Wildfowler's Year, published 1953. In post-war England, money was tight, and he found that most of his sales were to American and Canadian buyers. So he began a series of trans-Atlantic painting trips, usually on commission to wealthy sportsmen. In six years he crossed the Atlantic almost 30 times, a notable feat considering the air transportation of the day. This gave him the opportunity to travel throughout Canada and the US, but also took him away from his young family for months at a time—resulting in his decision to move to North America as soon as he could.

Flying Along the Edge of the Tide
30" x 40"

In Flight
Oil on Canvas
20" x 30"