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Art world mourns the passing of Louis le Brocquy

Art world mourns the passing of Louis le Brocquy

TRIBUTES have been paid to one of Ireland’s most renowned artists, Louis le Brocquy, who has passed away aged 95.

His talents first emerged as a young self-taught amateur who had works accepted for exhibition by the Royal Hibernian Academy. But it was not until he was completing his chemistry studies at Trinity College Dublin in the late 1930s that he began to consider becoming a painter.

After graduation he travelled to Europe to immerse himself in studying the great art collections — returning to Ireland at the outbreak of World War II.

In the late 1940s he produced his first major paintings. The Cubist portraits featured members of the Gypsy community in the west of Ireland.

He then painted what was to become one of his masterpieces, A Family (see below).

The work was well received in London and at the Venice Biennale, but in the more conservative Dublin the critics were unenthusiastic. However, time ensured that the genius of the painting was to be eventually recognised in his home country. A Family was eventually acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland for £1.15m, the first time the institution had acquired a work for its permanent collection during the lifetime of an artist.

Mr. Le Brocquy was regarded as one of the foremost Irish painters of the 20th. century. His paintings can be found in some of the most important collections in the world.

In the early 1960s he began to produced portraits of great literary figures and fellow artists. Over the years his subjects have included Picasso, W. B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Bono from U2.

Tributes were led by Irish President, Michael D. Higgins who said the painter’s pioneering approach to art had been “highly inspirational”.

He added: “I lament the loss of a great artist and wonderful human being whose works are amongst this country’s most valuable cultural assets and are cherished by us all. Louis leaves to humanity a truly great legacy.”

To view a film about one of Louis le Brocquy’s best known paintings, A Family, click here.


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