Peter J. KeenanNONFICTION WRITER, PAINTER
BORN: August 22, 1896, Belfast, Ireland
DIED: August 15, 1952, New Hope, Pennsylvania
A modernist painter, Peter J. Keenan also worked as a cartoonist and journalist. A native of Ireland, he served as a captain in the Royal Irish Rifles during World War I and knew James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and J.B. Yeats. In 1922 he moved to the United States, settling in Bucks County. One of the original group of New Hope modernists known as the Independents, he painted murals and portraits. A sports cartoonist for the Philadelphia Bulletin, Keenan's widely circulated freelance cartoons could be found in magazines from the Farm Journal to the Saturday Evening Post. He also sketched the Lindbergh kidnapping trial of Bruno Hauptmann for 67 newspapers.
Keenan actively supported the New Hope artistic community. During the Depression he fought hard for the area to receive a fair allotment of WPA funds, and served as a local director of the Public Works Art Project of the WPA. As founding publisher and editor of New Hope magazine, he was instrumental in further establishing the importance of the new art colony in the eyes of the art world.
"Energetic, Irish, newsman and painter. He is a stimulating person in the Delaware Valley Art Life."
--William F. Taylor