27 April 2012

Remembering Louis Le Brocquy: Nurtured by Ireland, Celebrated By The World

Louis Le Brocquy 
1916 - 2012

Today we remember Louis Le Brocquy. The celebrated Irish artist passed away this week, but leaves a legacy of powerful artwork, which continues to inspire generation across boarders. 

Some of his most famous works are the evocative 'Portrait Heads' Le Brocquy produced of literary figures and fellow artists. These included his friends Samuel Beckett, Francis Bacon and Seamus Heaney. 

He was inspired to make the 'Portrait Heads' during a visit to the Musee de l'Homme in Paris. There, he discovered the Polynesian head cult: skulls overlaid in clay and painted to preserve the presence within. 

But Le Brocquy later revealed that he was not making a statement, but was instead trying to discover aspects of his subjects. He tried to find the 'Beckettness of Beckett' and the 'Baconness of Bacon'. 

His homeland played a significant part in nurturing his skilful expressions. In Michael Gravey's documentary 'An Other Way of Knowing', Le Brocquy explained a local cave near his holiday home just outside Ardgroom, Co. Cork had given him the basis for Samuel Beckett's mouth in the famous portraits of the writer.  

To mark his 90th birthday, Le Brocquy was honoured with exhibitions in London, Paris, Dublin, Cork and Limerick. 

'The show was demonstrative of Le Broacquy's lifelong approach to his work: elegant, articulate, purposeful and presented in the full knowledge that we was but part of a long cultural tradition reaching across nations and people' - James Hamilton

Poet John Montague remembers him in The Irish Times:

Portrait of Samuel Beckett, a friend of Le Brocquy
Portrait of Francis Bacon
Portrait of William Butler Yeats

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