Gerard Dillon was born in Belfast in 1916. Leaving school at fourteen, he spent seven years working as a painter and decorator, primarily in London. From an early age Dillon had a keen curiosity for art and culture, and was particularly interested in the work of Marc Chagall and Sean Keating. In 1936 he decided to swap decorating for art and attended classes at the Belfast College of Art. Dillon moved to Dublin in 1941 and in 1943 he began showing his work. He died in Dublin in 1971.
Dillon is known for painting attractive scenes of life in the West of Ireland using bold colours and a semi-naïve style. He credited Nano Reid for having a “great loosening influence” on his work, commenting that he “loved her way of painting very much”. Like many of his contemporaries, Jack B. Yeats, Charles Lamb and James Humbert to name a few, Dillon used the apolitical imagery of the West to convey a new vision of national consciousness.
Gerard Dillon was a member of the Dublin Painters Group and a senior member of the Exhibition of Living Art for twenty years. He also lectured at the National College of Art and Design and the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin. His paintings are represented in numerous public collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Ulster Museum, Belfast, the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin and the Arts Council of Ireland.