Sean Scully was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1945. Raised in London, he studied at Croydon College of Art between 1965-7 and at Newcastle University between 1967-71. In 1975 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship and established a studio in New York, where he settled, becoming an American citizen in 1983.
Over the years, Scully has developed and refined his own recognisable style of geometric abstraction and most notably his characteristic motif of the 'stripe'. Although he is predominately known for his monumental paintings, he is also a gifted printmaker who has made a notable body of woodcuts and etchings.
Scully had his first solo exhibition at the Rowan Gallery, London in 1973. He had his first retrospective at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, in 1981, which travelled throughout the UK. In 1989 his first solo exhibition in a European museum travelled from Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, to Palacio Velázquez, Madrid and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich. He has had further solo exhibitions at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Dusseldorf (2001) which travelled to Haus Der Kunst, Munich and I.V.A.M., Valencia; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C (2005) travelled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A major retrospective toured multiple venues in China between 2015 and 2017.
His paintings and prints are held in the collections of Tate, London; Albertina, Vienna; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Instituto Valencia d'Arte Modern, Valencia; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; National Gallery, Washington; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Guangzhou Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China; and China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China.
Scully has held teaching positions at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London; Goldsmith's College of Art and Design, London; Princeton University, New Jersey; Parsons School of Art, New York; and most recently at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989 and in 1993, and was elected a Royal Academician in 2013. He participated for the first time at the Venice Biennale in 2014.
Sean Scully lives and works in New York and in Bavaria, Germany.