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Biographical Notes

 

1893-1910  Thomas McGreevy born the fifth of seven children in Tarbert, Co. Kerry, 26 October. His father, Thomas McGreevy, was a policeman, and his mother, Margaret née Enright, a primary school teacher. He attended national school until the age of sixteen, then studied privately for the civil service.
1910-14 Passed the Boy Clerk examination for the British civil service and moved to Dublin to begin work with the Irish Land Commission. In April 1912 was transferred to London to work with the Wales. At the outbreak of the Great War was Charity Commissioners for England and promoted to second division clerk working with the Intelligence Department of the Admiralty. 
1917-18  In March 1917 joined the British Army as a gunner. Was promoted in November to second lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery. Served in the front lines of the Ypres Salient and the Somme where he was wounded twice. 
1919-20  Demobilized. Attended Trinity College, Dublin, on a scholarship for ex-officers of the Great War, taking an honours degree in political science and history (concentrating on the French Revolution). While at Trinity was a member of the Dublin Arts Club and the Dublin Drama League. 
1920-25  Continued to reside in Dublin. Was appointed assistant secretary to the Irish advisory committee of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. And co-founded the Irish Central Library for Students with Christina Keogh and Lennox Robinson. Placed articles in The Leader, The Irish Statesman, and The Gael. In May 1924 first trip to France as a civilian ( where he is first introduced to James Joyce), and to Spain. The next summer, first trip to Switzerland. Both trips provided the inspiration for half-a-dozen poems. Probably in May 1925 moved to London. 
1925-26  Began writing criticism (book, ballet and opera) for The Criterion, The Nation, The Connoisseur, The Times Literary Supplement, and the New Statesman. Appointed assistant editor of The Connoisseur, a journal of the arts. Occasionally acted as deputy lecturer at the National Gallery, London. In 1926 began to translate Paul Valéry's Introduction à la méthode de Léonard de Vinci. In May 1926, published first poem, 'Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill'. Continued to have poetry published regularly in journals until 1932. In November/December wrote the theme for the ballet Pomona composed by Constant Lambert and choreographed by Nijinska (first performed on 9 September 1927 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires). Meets T.S. Eliot.
1927  In January 1927 took up temporary post at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) as lecteur d'anglais, which, in October 1928, was renewed for two more years. 
1928  In February began submitting Poems to publishers. In March essay on George Moore published in Scrutinies. In November met Samuel Beckett. MacGreevy's essay 'The Catholic Element in Work In Progress' was first published in transition (Fall 1928), and later reprinted by Shakespeare & Co. in Our Exagmination round His Factification for Incamination of Work In Progress (May 1929). In June meets Richard Aldington at James Joyce's apartment.. 
1929 In January made assistant secretary of the English edition of Formes, a journal of the fine arts. Introduction to the Method of Leonardo da Vinci published by John Rodker. 
1930 In January appointed secretary of the English edition of Formes (resigned 1931). Father died in April. In July resigned post at the École Normale.
1931-32 Continued to live in Paris. Chatto & Windus published MacGreevy's monographs: T.S. Eliot: A Study (January) and Richard Aldington: An Englishman (September). In July returns to live in Tarbert. 
1933 In March leaves Dublin, first stopping in Paris, before returning to London. Began writing Jack B. Yeats: An Appreciation and an Interpretation
1934  In May Poems published by William Heinemann in London, and in November reprinted by The Viking Press in New York.
1935-37  Main source of income derived from lecturing at the National Gallery in London and from literary translation, including Henry de Montherlant's Pity for Women and Lament for the Death of an Upper Class. Mother died in February 1936. 
1938 Chief art critic for The Studio (until December 1940). 
1941 When The National Gallery of London suspended its lecture series during the Blitz, MacGreevy helped remove pictures from London for safekeeping, and then returned to Dublin. Began writing for the Father Mathew Record and The Capuchin Annual. In November became art critic for The Irish Times (until December 1944).
1943  Joined the editorial staff of The Capuchin Annual.
1945  Jack B. Yeats: An Appreciation and an Interpretation published by Victor Waddington and Pictures in the Irish National Gallery by the Mercier Press. 
1946  Moved to 24 Fitzwilliam Place with his recently widowed sister Nora Phelan and her three daughters.
1948  Made Chevalier de l'ordre de la Légion d'honneur by the French Government for his services to the Arts. Began a correspondence with the American poet Wallace Stevens, which was to last until Stevens' death in 1955.
1950  Appointed Director of the National Gallery of Ireland (a post he held until 1963).
1951 Appointed to the first Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaíon).
1954 In January made first and only trip to the United States as Irish delegate to the Congress in Art History and Museology at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. During the trip he met Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore at a luncheon at the home of Barbara Church.
1955  Received the Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Began writing memoirs. 
1956 Had first heart attack. 
1957 Awarded honorary Doctorate of Letters from the National University of Ireland. Had second heart attack. Began writing Nicolas Poussin
1960 Nicolas Poussin published by The Dolmen Press. 
1962 Made Officier de la Légion d'honneur. Organized the exhibition of Jack B. Yeats's work for the Irish section of the Venice Bienniale.
1963 Retired from the National Gallery because of failing health. Received the Silver Cultural Medal of the Direzione Generale delle Relazioni Culturali from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
1967 Died 16 March 1967, the eve of St Patrick's Day, in Dublin. 

 

 

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