Joe Dunne was born in Dublin in 1957 and graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 1978. On leaving college he worked as a painter, illustrator and designer and won commissions for a number of stamp design sets from An Post and the Isle of Man Post.
He has held a number of solo exhibitions since 1980. A landmark exhibition held at the RHA Ashford Gallery in 2001 marked a stylistic development, which has continued alongside his more representational works. He has received a number of awards including the RHA silver medal in 1986 and the Don Niccolo Caracciolo RHA Award 1993 and 2001. He won prizes at the Arnotts National Portrait Awards in 1990 and 1993 and the Keating McLaughlin Medal for a group portrait at the RHA Annual in 2006. He was awarded 1st prize in the inaugural Davy Portrait Awards in 2008 and received the AXA Insurance Drawing Prize at the RHA Annual in 2009. Commissions by the Office of Public Works include his portraits of former Taoiseach Eamon deValera and of President Mary McAleese.
In 2003 he completed a residency and was awarded a fellowship at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Co. Mayo and in 2004 he was selected by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council as artist in residence Scoil Naithí Gaelscoil in Ballinteer, Dublin.
His work has been selected for numerous group shows and is included in the collections of AXA Insurance Ltd., The Royal Dublin Society, The Office of Public Works, Irish Independent Newspapers, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, The Irish Management Institute, The National University of Ireland at Maynooth, Ballinglen Art Foundation Archive, The Dublin Dental School and Hospital, The Mater Private Hospital, Dublin and The Boyle Civic Collection.