Mike McDonnell was born in Muskegon, Michigan in 1937. From 1956 to 1958 he studied with W.H. Mosby in the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He continued studying from 1958 to 1960 with Sidney E. Dickinson in the Art Students League of New York. In 1959 he also completed a year of study in the National Academy of Fine Arts in New York with Robert Phillip and Dean Cornwell. He received additional training in portraiture, initially in oil. He maintained an interest in portraiture throughout his life, but he created primarily still lifes and interiors during his last forty years. In those compositions he strived to idealize common objects while he emphasized clean, precise color and details.
Mike McDonnell was born in Muskegon, Michigan in 1937. From 1956-58 he studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and then continued his studies from 1958-60 at the Art Students League of New York and the National Academy School of Fine Arts. McDonnell eventually settled in Frankfort, Michigan where he spent over 40 years painting portraits, still lifes, interiors and architectural studies, until his death in 2010.
Grand Valley State University began acquiring Mike McDonnell’s artwork in 2013 with an initial gift from the artist’s wife, Karen McDonnell. In the coming years, this body of work will be expanded and developed through a promised gift of over 200 additional paintings, as well as an archival collection of artist’s correspondence, photographs and related material. This is the first exhibition of his work at GVSU, drawn from the over 190 paintings in the permanent collection.