Artist John O'Brien

Man and Bike

John's self portrait as he saw his twilight years, coming home from the pub after church on Sunday, in a free Ireland.

John O'Brien, Big Bike
John O'Brien, artist

John Patrick O'Brien

June 2, 1951 - October 24, 2004

John O'Brien's artwork conveys a series of mystery and romance seldom found in contemporary art. With exquisite craftsmanship, poetic ideals, and a modern awareness, he created a unique style, which has become known as "contemporary romantic realism." His passion for France, Italy and Ireland can be seen in the romantic settings of elegant interiors, European street scenes, and neighborhood cafes and pubs.

John studied at the prestigious Art Student's League in New York where he subsequently maintained a studio in Greenwich Village as well as San Francisco and Paris. His academic achievements, combined with his admiration for American Impressionists, can be seen in every painting. The interiors and exteriors are wholly imaginary, enticing and inviting the viewer "to wish they were there." His works are in many private collections in the U.S. and abroad. He was commissioned to paint murals, portraits of people of all ages, and illustrations in addition to his highly successful series of Romantic interiors and European style exteriors.

John passed away at his home in Petaluma, California in October 2004 at the age of 53. He was a devoted and loving father, world-recognized artist and supporter of all things Irish. He sustained a remarkable and enduring love of life, with an eye for beauty he could express in his varied artwork. He will always be remembered for his warm smile and gentle ways by every life he touched.

In his memory, John's wife, Martha has established The O'Brien Center of the Arts ( in Petaluma, California, to not only showcase his artworks, but also to offer a venue for artists of all disciplines. John was particularly fond of ballet, as is frequently seen in many of his paintings. The Center offers a wide range of classes in ballet and other dance, in addition to providing an art gallery where John's work and related art products are displayed and can be purchased.